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HARVARD 

COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 





J t> 



; E ss^ .-a ' b- 

J III 1111111113 

"^ *-i 5J!^--= 'lis 



• RECOLLECTIONS 



OF THE 



INHABITANTS, LOCALITIES, SUPERSTITIONS, 



^ AND 



KUKLUX OUTRAGES 



OF THE CAROLINAS. 



BY A 



c i 



CARPET-BAGGER" 



WHO WAS BOBN AND 
LIVED THBBE. 



1880. 






:<T 



4^^ 



4M^ 



o y 



us t^SS^^- 25 



/' 



(EB ttJ1919 



Entered accordiDg to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, in the office of the 

Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 



In compliance with current 
copyright law, LBS Archival 

Products produced this 

replacement volume on paper 

that meets the ANSI Standard 

Z39.48-1984 to replace the 

irreparably deteriorated 

original. 

1991 

^-^ TM 

(ool 



TO THE 

CAKPET-BAGGERS OF THE SOUTH: 

THOSE UNSWEBVINO BEFUBLICANS 

TO WHOSE FIDELITY AND SAGACITY THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED 

STATES ARE INDEBTED FOB THE SUCCESSFUL 

CONSUMMATION OF THE 

RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SOUTH, 

this unpretentious volume is respectfully 

dedicated, by 

The Author. 



TO THE PUBLIC. 



The following work possesses the merit of truthfulness, what- 
ever else may be said of it. We make no apology for its appear- 
ance or its contents. We believe some things pertaining to the 
people of the South and iu peculiar customs and prejudicen, not 
to be found in any other work, are to be found in this. If it 
shall add to the general stock of information, our highest hopes 
and expectations shall have been realized. 

The Authob. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

General Introduction. — Description of a Southern Village. — 
Our Beasts of Burden and Vehicles. — "First Mondays." — A 
Humorous Incident. 

CHAPTER II. 

Prosecuting the Journey. — Beauties of Nature Strewn Around 
Urt. — The Guide Post. — The Irishman's Mistake. — Brown goes 
" To See a Man."— The Old Mill Pond.— Just the Place for Dark 
Deeds. — Legends connected with it. — Union Soldiers. — Murdered 
Victims. — Story of Henry Woods. — His Guilty Love and its 
Fatal Determination. — Matrimony among the Plantation Hands 
of the South. — Wasted Power. — Mistaken Policy of Southern Pro- 
ducers, — What Judge said. 

CHAPTER in. 

The Old Church and School House. — Reflections on their Style 
of Architecture. — The Forgotten Dead. — Superstitious Dread of 
Ghosts on the part of the Inhabitants. — Witchcraft and Conjura- 
tion — Peculiar Antics of a Pretended Conjurer. — His Legal Com- 
plications and Happy Deliverance.— Despondency and Gloom 
occasioned by a Belief in the same. — Ignorance the Cause of these 
Superstitious Beliefs. — Its Existence in Germany, England, and 
New England in the Past.— Day beginning to Dawn in the South. 

CHAPTER IV. 

Oriole. — Its Appearance, Population, etc. — Edward Hill, our 

Host. — Some Account of his Early Life and Subsequent Career. — 

Labor and Perseverance Conquers All. — Sacrifice of Principle 

Essential to Success in the South Then as Now. — Our Repast. — 



The Menu. — " Collards." — Moral Status of the Denizens of Oriole. 
— Brown's Opinion: "It is Worse than New York." — Reminis- 
cence of a Former Visit to This Place. — Reflections on the Treat- 
ment of Colored People in all parts of the South. 

CHAPTER V. 

Lowlands of the Carol in as. — Spring Freshets. — Famine Threat- 
ened. — Mail Carrier Up a Tree, — Unhealthy Localities. — Rice 
Culture. — Sufierings of Hands. — The Great Dismal Swamp. — 
Appearance and Extent. — The Robber's Stronghold. — Henry Berry 
Ijowrie. — He Defies the Militia of a Whole State. — His Audacious 
Bearing. — A Confrere Hung. — Lowrie is Wounded and finally 
Killed. — The Fugitive's Retreat. — Uncle Pompey's Experience. 

CHAPTER VI. 

The Bell Homestead. — Accommodations for the Night, — The 
Black Cat. — My Wife Alarmed. — An Unfortunate Throw, and 
Alarm of the Family. — Mine Host Jones and the Writer Adjourn 
to the Yard. — Snake Stories. — Snakes in the House; in the Bed; 
in ihe Mill. — Snake Bites and Whiskey Treatment. — "Coachwhip 
Snake." — Snakes for Food. — Medicine and Music. — Reminiscences 
of the Slaveholding Era, by Jones. — The Men and Women who 
Cleared and Cultivated these Lands. — The Whip. — The Auction 
Block. — The Stocks. — Insufficient Food. — Dawn of Day. 

CHAPTER VII. 

Incidents of the Route. — Post Boxes. — Mineral Springs. — 
Floral College. — The Duello. — Reminiscences of School Life in 
the South Before the War. — An Oasis. — A Foraging Expedition. 
— Difference between Southern and Northern Hospitality. — Win- 
ning our Fodder by a Stratagem. — Our Repast and Departure. 

CHAPTER VIII. 

"Fannie" on her metal.— First Mishap of the Road.—" All's 
Well that End's Well."— The Deserted Cotton Plantation.— Then 
and Now. — Contributing Causes. — ^** Carpet-Bag" Rule in the 
South.^-Both Sides of the Question. — What the Writer saw in 



/ 



/ 

! 



t 



Sooth Carolina. — Haw Property-Holders Felt.— Characteristic 
Letter. — Where did the Blame Lie ? — Admission of the Writer of 
the Letter. — Land Commission. — Bail Boad Bonds. — Private 
Operations. 

CHAPTEK IX. 

The Camp-Meeting Ground.— General Appearance of the 
Place. — Jones Pleased. — Religious Tendencies of the Colored Bace. 
Are they Peculiarities of the Colored Bace, or are they Begotten 
of their Weak and Oppressed Condition ?— The Writer's Views on 
this Subject. — Beminiscences of a Camp-Meeting. — Sudden Pros- 
tration and Narrow Escape. — The Philadelphia "Mourner." — 
Quotations from a Sermon. — First Lines of some of the Hymns. — 
A Woman on Fire. — Disadvantage of Wearing a Hoop Skirt. — 
Nearing Civilization. 

CHAPTEB X. 

The Ku-Klux-Klan. — Its Origin. — Its Name. — Objects and 
Deeds of Violence. — Becollections of its Early Days. — Proofs of its 
Existence. — What Hon. Beverdy Johnson thought of its Members. 
— The Origin of the Exodus, and Probable Besult. 

CHAPTEB XI. 

The Poor Whites of the South. — Contributing Causes of their 
Present Condition, — Their Social Status ; Habits of Life ; Means 
of Support — Dislike of them by the Colored People of the South. 
— Struggles on the Part of Some of Them to Better their Condi- 
tion. — Bemarkable Instances of Success. — Their Future in This 
Country. 

CHAPTEB XII. 

Products of the Carolinas. — Cotton. — Turpentine.— Peanuts. — 
Sweet Potatoes, etc. — Forest Fruits. — " Chincapins." — Hickory- 
nuts. — Persimmons. — Grape Culture. — Fishes, Oysters, etc. 

CHAPTEB XIII. 

The Colored People of the South.— Different Qasses.— The 
Plantation Hands. — ^Their Habits and Modes of Life. — Corn- 



^ 



8 

shucking and Log-rolling Bees. — Their Love of "Tossnm and 
Sweet-en-tater."— Will they Steal ?— The Colored People of the 
Cities and Towns. — General Intelligence among them, and Causes 
Contributing Thereto. — Churches and Schools among them. — 
Efforts of Bad Men to Create Prejudice between Different Classes 
of them. — Education and Wealth will Dispel All. 

CONCLUSION. 

Past and Present of " Magnolia." — Sherman's Boys and Har- 
dee. — ^** No Law to Compel One Man to ' Mister ' Another." — The 
Results of the Trip. — Returning North. 



CHAPTER I. 



General Introduction. — Description of a Southern Village. — 
Our Beasts of Burden and Vehicles. — "First Mondays.'' — A 
Humorous Incident. 



The early days of the Summer of 1872 found three 
fathers, three mothers and five children residing in the 
quiet little village of Hudsonville, South Carolina. 
Driven by fate and the results of the recent great rebel- 
lion, the effects of which were still agitating all that 
section of the Southern country, we had changed our 
places of abode in other States and pitched our humble 
tents in this section of the United States, with the 
avowed intent of commencing life anew, and "making 
up by sober, industrious effort, so far as the ability lay 
in us, for lost time." We were all members of that 
much abused, but exceedingly patient class, known in 
this country as " colored people," a term which embraces 
all who have within their veins a single drop of African 
blood, from the sable brother who traces his lineal 
ancestors, on both sides, directly from the banks of the 
Congo and the Nubian plains, and boasts of his 
unadulterated blood, to the flaxen -haired octoroon, who 
leads captive the heart of her unwaiy Anglo-Saxon 



10 

admirer, that never associates her in his mind with any 
member of the " despised race." 

Jones, the eldest of the three, was a native South- 
erner, "to the manor born," (a favorite phrase, by the 
way, iD that section,) and had left the home of his 
nativity, only sixty miles to the northeast of our present 
place of abode; in fact, having passed the greater part 
of his manhood as an intlnerant carpenter, he was well 
acquainted not only with every town and hamlet of any 
note in all that region of country, but he was deeply 
versed in the avenues of travel leading to them ; which 
was a very important acquisition in a section of country 
where there were no railroads, and where the tourist 
was relegated to the usages in vogue before the advent 
of the Christian era. He knew the names and places 
of residence of every property-holder of any note as 
well, and, had the records and maps of the country 
been lost, I verily believe he could have located more 
than ODe half the farms, and given them " metes and 
bounds" from his retentive memory, for stakes and 
stones and '^ blazed " trees were as familiar to him as 
the ordinary thoroughfares of business are to the 
metropolitan merchant. He could no more part with 
the services of his friendly pipe than he could with his 
"better half," and when comfortably ensconced by the 
side of a glowing hickory fire on a winter's night, with 
his pipe well filled, he could " spin yarns " by the hour. 



11 

Brown was the junior of Jones, and, while he had 
not the same degree of experience concerning country 
life, yet he made it his boast that he knew '^ a thing or 
two," because he had spent several years as a resident 
of that great hive of industry, New York — a name, the 
very mention of which to the average rustic of the 
South, causes his eyes to dilate like miniature saucers 
and animates his curiosity. Brown was impulsive; he 
preferred fighting to eating; he carried his revolver and 
bowie knife, and bore the reputation in all that section 
of being '^ a bad man,'' of which epithet, as applied to 
him, he was very proud. 

Of the writer hereof but little need be said, since he 
is to take a very unimportant part in the events which 
shall be related — scarcely more than that of a faithful 
scribe, who will undertake to note down a truthful 
account of the events in their regular order. Suffice it 
to say then, that, while he acknowledged the " Old 
North State" (North Carolina) as the home of his 
nativity, yet, having escaped thence during his tender 
childhood, shunning the baleful effects of that social 
ulcer, slavery, and seeking a healthy atmosphere, where 
he could grow to the full stuture of manhood, he had 
found that garden spot of the whole earth, the noble 
Western ^Reserve of the great State of Ohio, where, 
surrounded by kind friends, loving hearts and institu- 
tions of learning, he had succeeded in acquiring a 



12 

sufficient store of knowledge to partially appreciate his 
own infirmities and the necessities of his race, and he 
had now returned to the Sunny South with a burning 
zeal to do something in his day for the common good, 
and build up for himself and family an honorable name 
among the sons of men. 

We had not tarried long in Hudson ville before we 
began to think that we had made a mistake in locating; 
for, while this village was quite noteworthy in some 
respects, j'et, for men without capital, having aspirations 
socially and financially, it was as barren as a desert. A 
court-house, jail, post-office, three churches, four large 
warehouses, five stores and about fifty dwellings, 
scattered at irregular intervals along half a dozen 
streets and accommodating from two hundred and fifty 
to three hundred souls, comprised the village. The 
inhabitants of this little place were composed almost 
exclusively of the owners of the large cotton planta- 
tions, which lay on three sides of it, and their families 
and dependents, if we except two or three storekeepers, 
who supplied the wants of this small community. 
Socially, they formed a little literary coterie, or mutual 
admiration society among themselves, at whose doors 
no ''foreigner" (as they significantly termed all persons 
from the North) need knock. They sent to Charleston 
for their extra provisions, drew their latest fashions 
frpni Charleston, and derived their newspapers and 



13 

general inspiration from the same source. They had 
heard of Calhoun, Rhett, Hayne, Pinckney, and other 
states' rights champions, and wJJrshipped their names, 
but cared little for aught else; and, aside from attending 
church and rendering an occasional parlor theatrical, 
they had little amusement. For a colored person, 
possessing any of those finer qualities of soul or 
intellect, such as distinguish one from the *' ignoble 
herd," there was no affiliation, no inspiration, no life, 
save such as could be found among the plantation 
hands, who, though frequently pure-hearted and inno- 
cent in their dealings, were, nevertheless, covered by 
such a dark pall of ignorance and superstition, 
bequeathed to them by their former taskmasters, as 
rendered them unfit for the ordinary demands of 
society. There was no business there for a man without 
a trade, or capital with which to undertake some specu- 
lative enterprise; and as for the learned protessions, 
such as medicine and law, no one thought of embarking 
in the practice of either, unless his acquaintance was 
coextensive with the county and his reserve fund consid- 
erable. 

There were at least twelve days in the year, however, 
that would have been considered as exceptions to the 
rule in Hudsonville; when monotony gave place to 
variety, and the appearance of the public square was 
altogether changed. These were the " First Mondays " 



14 

of each and every month; days made famous in the 
State of South Carolina by reason of the fact that the 
sheriffs of the different counties were accustomed to 
offer for sale at the county seats such property as fell to 
their lot to sell, by virtue of their official capactiy. 
There were a class of hardy men who made it their 
business to drive wagons over the territory of that and 
adjacent states, bartering and selling goods, especially 
tobacco, horses and mules. They came, generally, from 
the western section of the State of North Carolina, 
where there are numerous tobacco manufactories and 
some live stock worthy of note. As they progressed 
along their route they were in the habit of selling to 
persons remote from commercial centers, and when they 
could not obtain money for their wares they would 
barter them away for such produce as they could dispose 
of in the large towns, such as hides, corn, bacon, flour and 
the like. These " wagoners " kept well posted regarding 
''First Mondays," and they became in the course of 
time to be one of the most prominent features of the 
day. They began to arrive early in the day, with dogs 
and other animals hitched on behind, and as they 
ranged themselves in semicircular form on the public 
square they presented quite a picturesque appearance. 
They were generally men of much experience, and not 
unfrequently included among their number persons of 
desperate character, especially when excited from the 



16 

efiect of strong drink. Hence these days became noted 
far and wide as occasions of strife, and sometimes 
bloodshed. On such occasions knives were freely used, 
and the revolver was an indispensable means of protec- 
tion. 

As these lines are being penned the writer recollects 
an occasion when about a dozen men, veterans of the 
Confederate army, were seated on the side of a hill in 
close proximity to his place of abode. They had 
numerous bottles of brandy peaches and cherries (the 
sale of whisky and brandy in any other form being for- 
bidden by law on those days), all of which they greedily 
devoured, and speedily became intoxicated. They then 
recounted their deeds of valor upon the field of battle 
during the great rebellion; told how many "Yanks" 
they had killed, and exhibited, in one or two instances, 
trinkets manufactured from the bones of our poor Union 
soldiers. After that they boasted of the " niggers" they 
had owned before the war, and told how much they 
regretted the loss of them. It happened that among 
these men there was one whose race was not well 
defined. He was a,, peculiar looking man — not exactly 
white, nor yet was he sufficiently dark to be classed 
with the colored people by one not well acquainted with 
him. He was familiarly known as " Colonel." In his 
day Colonel had owned a few slaves, and to a certain 
extent he had affiliated with the white portion of the 



16 

community. During this maudlin performance on the 
part of the men referred to, the conversation turned on 
the pedigree of the various members of the party, and 
each in turn gave his, so far as he could. Smith said 
his ancestors came over direct from England and landed 
at Jamestown ; Scott said he could trace his pedigree to 
the Scottish bard of the same name, and he was not 
certain but that some of the Burns family were distantly 
related to some of his ancestors; O'Neil referred the 
gentleman to his illustrious Irish ancfstry, of which he 
seemed to be very proud; but, when it came to the 
ColonePs turn to speak, he was as silent as the tomb, 
and opened not his mouth. "Come, Colonel," said 
Smith, "none of that now; show up; no dodging." 
"That's so," they all rhymed in chorus. "Tell us 
where you came from." "Well, gentlemen,'' said the 
Colonel, hesitating," ** if I must tell you, I believe I am 
Portugese.'' "Portugese Nigger!" exclaimed Smith 
with much emphasis, and then there was a general 
laugh, and all took a drink at the expense of the blush- 
ing Colonel. Later in the evening these men mounted 
their horses and rode violently through the streets of 
the village, yelling like wild Indians, terrifying the 
souls of timid women and children, and concluding the 
performance by cutting one of their own number 
severely with a knife. During the early part of this 
same afternoon an incident of a rather humorous nature 



17 

took place, which was characteristic of the men and 
customs. 

A young man who had imbibed rather freely, and 
was confident respecting his physical ability, said he 
was a tinker and "spoiling for a fight;" he had chal- 
lenged several persons to a fight at fisticuffs, and in one 
or two instances he had even shaken his fist in the faces 
of men. He.continued to run around the square, daring 
some one to knock a chip off of his shoulder, without 
meeting with the slightest success. Brown, one of our 
party, was at that time keeping a grocery facing the 
public square. The building occupied by him Tvas built 
on the side of a hill, and the intervening depression in 
front had been filled with sawdust; just the place for 
throwing somersaults. Brown was very busy with his 
customers, when the young man " spoiling for a fight " 
entered his store and said "I'm a tinker;" receiving no 
attention from any one, he repeated the assertion, "T'm 
a tinker, I ami''' At that instant Brown turned, seized 
the youth by the collar of his coat and the waistband of 
his pantaloons, and threw him. Some said the misguided 
"tinker" turned a triple somersault; that I cannot vouch 
for, but this much can truly be said: when he came 
down he struck on his head, and the last that was seen 
of him he was sitting beneath a tree, mopping his brow 
and wiping the blood from his nose, while he perchance 
ruminated in his mind over the uncertainties of life. 

7 



18 

These days, however, were few and far between, and 
could not be relied upon. Under these circumstances, 
the aforesaid trio were not long in concluding to visit a 
neighboring town of some commercial pretensions, for 
the purpose of prosecuting an investigation with a view 
to an ultimate change of our place of residence. In this 
section of the country, those avenues of thrift and prog- 
ress, rail roads, were then, as now, little in use, and as a 
means of conveyance our choice lay between walking 
and buggy riding; but as the proposed route la}^ through 
sands and rough lands, we were not long in selecting the 
latter. Our stock were not such as to attract the eye of 
a connoisseur, or even to reflect credit upon the equine 
species in that vicinity, as a slight description of them 
will readily prove. Jones had a little bay mare, of ner- 
vous temperament, slightly over-fed, and anxious to 
exhibit her vivacit}^ to the average observer. In short, 
she would run away whenever opportunity offered. But 
Jones was very proud of her, called her Fannie, and 
made a regular pet of her. Brown had a large sorrel 
horse, of very angular appearance, whose hip bones 
were so very prominent as to be suggestive of hat pins, 
while his spinal column and heavy ribs, visible through 
his losely fitting hide, betokened a frame of uncommon 
strength and powers of endurance ; and notwithstanding 
the evident fact that he had seen better days, he yet 
retained a sufficient degree of his pristine vitality and 



19 

fire to paw the earth and neigh for new scenes and fresh 
exploits; of which, I ma}' add, he was ere long to have 
an ample allowance. Brown purchased this horse and 
gave as consideration, five dollars in money, one barrel 
of fiour, and two sides of salt dried bacon. " Gentle 
reader," you may smile if j'ou choose when I tell you 
this, but it is a fact, nevertheless; this unpretentious 
horse, under his master's judicious care, frequentl}' 
traveled twenty miles, to the nearest rail road station, 
and returned with fifteen hundred pounds of merchan- 
dise, between sunrise and sunset of the same day; and 
was at times pitted against comparatively fast horses 
for a race. The writer's horse was a borrowed one. He 
was jet black, with a piece of his tail cut ofi*; he was not 
what might be called a fast horse — on the contrary he 
was quite slow in his movements, and needed constant 
prodding to keep him in motion; and had such a care- 
worn, discouraged, heart-broken look about his counten- 
ance, as would almost melt a heart of stone, and cause 
an over anxious driver to relent. Such, then, were our 
horses; and our vehicles were scared}' more pretentious. 
They were not models of beauty nor yet even fair speci- 
mens of art; since they were minus tops, had low backs, 
and the one in which the writer and his family traveled 
would not " track *' with the others by several inches. 
However, thev were the best that could be obtained in 
that section for love or money; and, making a virtue of 



20 

necessity, we refrained from grumbling and faultfinding, 
and began to prepare for our journey. Tlie first thing 
provided was provender for the horses, an article quite 
scarce in that village and hence very highly prized. We 
filled sacks with corn, placed them under the seats, and 
tied on numerous bundles of fodder behind; tilled our 
baskets with food and our fiasks with liquids for the 
compan}'; the little ones were stowed away in safe 
places, and our positions taken on the seats. Thus 
equipped and mounted, we turned onr backs for the time 
upon old Hudsonville, jubilant at the thought that for a 
short space at least we should be relieved of the fatigu- 
ing monotony which seemed to be crushing out all our 
former vigor, — that we should escape from the scornful 
glances, the sneers and intolerable oppressions which 
inevitably go hand in hand with caste proscription; 
albeit, those who champion the system are self-consti- 
tuted autocrats, and in any well-regulated community, 
having merit as its standard of distinction, would not 
attain to mediocrity. While such thoughts as the fore- 
going flit through the mind, we cross the corporate lim- 
its, descend a slight knoll into a pleasant little valley, 
lose sight of the spires of the churches, and are well 
started on our journey. 



CHAPTER ir. 



Proftecuting the Journey. — Beauties of Nature Strewn Around 
U«. — The Guide Post. — The Irifthman's Mistake. — Brown goes 
" To See a Man."— The Old Mill Pond.^Just the Place for Dark 
Deeds. — Legends connected with it. — Union Soldiers. — Murdered 
Victims. — Story of Henry Woods. — His Guilty Love and its 
Fatal Determination. — Matrimony among the Plantation Hands 
of the South. — Wasted Power. — Mistaken Policy of Southern Pro- 
ducers, — What Judge said. 



Once relieved from the restraints imposed u|K)n us 
by municipal regulations, and stimulated by the cheer- 
ing surroundings, our little party gave itself up to the 
pleasures of the hour; the elder ones of us sang and 
cheered, while the little ones made the welkin ring with 
shouts of merr}* laughter, and sustained their reputation 
of being "little chatterboxes." And well might we 
rejoice; for a scene was spread out around and before 
us almost surpassing belief; a scene from the laboratory 
of nature; such as no pen can depict or pencil sketch. 
The forests clothed in their newest garments and be- 
decked with vernal flowers, were more inviting than 
ever; primroses blushed back at May flowers, while 
violets drooped their modest heads and each vied with 
the other in scattering sweet fragrance on the balmy 
liir. The feathered songsters, resplendent in their 



22 

recent plumage, drew inspiration from the scene and 
piped forth their melodious lays of gratitude and 
thanksgiving; while the frisky little squirrels, leaping 
from limb to limb, glanced sidewise at us and ran 
athwart our track as if to challenge us to a little game 
of hide-and-go seek, in which the^' were sure to be the 
victors. Little Johnnie was desirous of having a bouquet 
of **boo fowers," as he termed pretty flowers, and his 
wish was gratified: Alice, Jones' eldest daughter, 
thought if she had one of those little squirrels, she 
would have attained to the acme of her ambition : while 
Lulu was informed that the only practical way to gain 
possession of one of those little red birds was to drop a 
little salt on its tail. And thus we held our course 
onward as rapidly as we could under the circumstances, 
the male portion of the family walking in the meantime 
to assist the horses through the accumulating sands, 
when suddenlj' we came to where the road forked, and 
there very demurely stood a guide (?) post, with one 
solitary hand, pointing in an equivocal direction. 
"What's that, cousin Henry?" said my better half. 
'• That, cousin, is a guide post," he replied. "A guide 
post! guide to what? it has only one index, and that is 
apparently pointing to the woods over there." "Well," 
said cousin Henry, " for that matter, it would have been 
just as well if it never had any, for at the time it was 
put up there were only few in this part of the countrj^ 



23 

who could read the inscription on it The colored peo- 
ple were prohibited by law from learning to read, the 
poor class of white people had no provision made for 
them, and the rich ones very seldom needed a guide 
post." The writer suggested that it was put there to 
commemorate some important event in the history of 
the neighborhood; and this suggestion drew forth the 
well-known story, related by our ancestors, of the Irish- 
man, fresh from the mother country, who, while travel- 
ing in the Granite State, approached a guide post which 
bore the inscription '^40 miles to Manchester." It is 
said that Patrick was greatly perplexed to fathom the 
meaning of the inscription: he took off his hat and 
scratched his head, and finally, after intently gazing 
upon it for a brief space with an expression of counte- 
nance indicative of great anxiety, he audibly solilo- 
quized: "Fahrty miles the man chased her! be me sowl 
I cud av ketched her in tin." Brown, however, who 
during the relation of the foregoing anecdote had been 
scrutinizing a little clump of trees in the direction indi- 
cated by the index on the guide post, just then surprised 
us all by exclaiming: <^ Ladies* and gentlemen, please 
excuse me tor a moment while I go to 3''on shanty and 
see a nian." And without further parley he took leave 
of us, not even awaiting our answer or interrogatory as 
to whether he would have company. Another moment 
exposed to full view a little groggery here in this 



24 

isolated place, to entrap the unwary traveler and 
contribute toward his. fall. The lone index on the 
post pointing to the grove was explained; all was plain 
now. We were mistaken in supposing it to be a guide 
post; it was the dram seller's signal to the road to per- 
dition. Brown shortly overtook the remainder of the 
party; he was a changed man, for whereas before he left 
us he was stupidly dell, his eyes now sparkled with 
merriment, and instead of being demure and solemn he 
was now garrulous, and had even began to compare the 
old rail fence on the side of the road to a rustic struc- 
ture which he had seen in Central Park, New York, 
when his narrative was fortunately cut short by "Cousin 
Henry" (as we familiarly called Jones) exclaiming, 
"Cousin John," (meaning the writer) "do you see that 
mill-pond over there? " I assured him in most positive 
terms that I did. " Well, that is Hunt's mill pond, that 
you have heard me talk so much about. I want you to 
take a good look at it ais we go by, because there are a 
good many hard stories told about it, and most of them 
are true, too." 

In truth I scarcely needed the injunction to "take a 
good look at it," for it was such a place as was well 
calculated to challenge the attention of any traveler, 
and even as he spoke we approached the rude bridge 
over the race, which gave forth deep intonations beneath 
the horses' hoofs and wagon wheels in perfect keeping 



2t 

with the surrounding 8cener3\ Overhanging the margin 
of one segment of this pond were gloomy cypress trees, 
and beneath these an almost impenetrable jungle of 
whortleberry bushes, reeds and rushes, fit abode for 
beasts of prey and poisonous reptiles. Added to this 
was the deafening roar of the waters, rushing wildly 
through the race, and reverberating through the for- 
est; all of which made up a scene well suited for deeds 
of violence and bloodshed. " During the war, cousin 
John," spake Jones, "there were more than one poor 
union soldier killed and thrown into this pond, and if the 
bottom could be raked, you would find many a human 
skeleton buried in the mud." " Why do you say that, 
cousin Henry? did you take any part in the transactions?" 
I asked. " No, but these things were talked about and 
generally understood; and the people hereabouts don't 
hesitate to admit it. 1 remember hearing old Coloner 
Hull tell of a union soldier that escaped from his com- 
mand one night; he was sick and could not go very fast, 
and so, when the alarm was given that a man had escaped, 
and they put bloodhounds on his track, he was easily 
captured. One of the party asked the Colonel what was 
done with the soldier; but he got for an answer onl}'^ a 
smile and a wink as the Colonel pointed over his shoul- 
der in the direction of Hunt's mill-pond, 

"About three years ago,'' he continued, "a peddler's 
pack was found in that thicket over there," — pointing 



26 

to a suggestive looking jungle on the margin of the 
pond. "It had been rifled of its contents; near it lay 
an old leathern wallet, containing nothing of value, and 
only a few feet further ofl* was found a heavy, club- 
shaped piece of wood, blood-stained, with a few hairs 
sticking to it. What became of the body no one has 
ever answered, but if that old mill-pond could talk, I 
think it could tell something about it. 

"But the strangest transactisn that ever took place 
in connection with this pond^ so far as I have any 
knowledge, was the murder of a woman by one Henry 
Woods, who was hung in Hudsonville last summer." 

« What was that ? " I asked. 

"Well, to give you a full understanding of the occur- 
rence, I must go back a little. 

" You see," he continued, " during the days of slaver}' 
it was not considered a very serious offence for a slave 
to have more than one wife; and while a few of the more 
conscientious owners, in some instances seemed to dis- 
courage it, by far the greater number not only winked 
at it, but actually encouraged what might have been 
mistaken for one phaze of the religion of the ' latter day 
saints.' The result was a polygamous state of society 
in existence among the slaves ; and on many of the most 
populous plantations, husbandless wives and fatherless 
children. In fact, even those who went through the 
form of a marriage ceremony were told that it was not 



27 

binding on them, and so thoroughly convinced were they 
of the truth of this statement that after freedom came 
* they were remarried by hundreds and thousands; indeed 
Rev. Mr. Moore, of Darlington, did nothing else for 
several weeks than go around and marr}"* these emanci- 
pated people. And a strange sight it was too, cousin 
John, to see parents who had grown-up children, some 
of them grand-children, old gray haired men and women 
who had climbed the hill together for more than half a 
centur}' in some instances, where their owners were kind 
and would not separate them, come to the matrimonial 
altar, renew their vows, clasp each other in their free 
arms, and shout glor\' hallelujah to the Lord who had 
delivered them out of bondage and permitted them to 
see the glorious light of libert3\ 

" Owing to the early training that these people had 
received," he continued, "there were a great many who 
after they gained their liberty refused to fall in with the 
new order of things, and continued to follow the old 
fashion of having more than one wife. Such a man was 
Henry Woods. He had a very nice woman for a wife, 
who was intelligent, industrious and kind; she was the 
mother of a bright-eyed little child which he acknowl- 
edged as his own, and Henry really loved them both. 
But, for some inexplicable cause, he could not make up 
his mind to forsake another woman with whom he had 
been more than intimate for several years, notwithstand- 



28 

ing his seeming desire to do so. His wife chided him; 
the neighbors upbraided; his own conscience told him it 
was wrong, but still he persisted in his course. Finally 
his wife told him she would not live with him any 
longer unless he quit Luc}', his paramour. Then Henry 
became desperate; he went to Lucy and tried to per- 
suade her to let him alone, but as she would not consent 
he let the matter drop and said no more on tbe subject. 
And so the matter rested, and had almost escaped the 
attention of every one, until one day a man ploughing 
on the other side of this pond, smelled an obnoxious 
odor, and upon investigation lound the partially decom- 
posed remains of a colored woman. The corpse was 
identified as the bod}' of Lucy, who had previously been 
missed, but as the process of decomposition was far 
advanced and the stench was almost intolerable, it was 
difficult to persuade any one to handle it, and it was 
finally placed in a rude box and buried without examin- 
ation. 

"The affair had been nearly forgotten, when, the 
attention of the coroner being called to it, he caused 
the body to be disinterred and examined. It was 
found, upon examination, that the woman was the 
victim of foul pla3% and had been inhumanly murdered 
by some unknown felon, who, for aught that was known, 
was even then at large in their very midst. Suspicion 
pointed p.t once toward Henry Woods, her former 



29 

"friend," as being the guilty party; and, as is generally 
the case, the discovery of one fact led to others. It was 
ascertained that about ten days previous to the discovery 
of the body a loud shriek had startled several persons 
residing in the vicinity of the pond, but as no adequate 
cause therefor was discovered the matter was dismissed 
from their minds and shortly forgotten. One of the 
neighbors also recalled the fact that at or about the 
same time, when traveling along the road near the pond, 
he saw Henry standing in a suspicious manner amongst 
the under brush, and that he, when accosted, answered 
evasively. And then everj- one remembered that Henr}' 
had worn a downcast, guilt}' look upon his countenance 
for a week or more, and had not borne himself in his 
usual manner. All these things contributed to produce 
in the mind of everv one the conviction that Henrv 
Woods had indeed murdered Lucy Hall, his mistress. 
The result was the arrest and incarceration of Henry, 
who firmly and persistentl}' protested his innocence, and 
denied all knowledge of the circumstances surrounding 
the traged3\ The body of Lucy, when examined, pre- 
sented not only several contused wounds and abrasions 
of the skin, but, in addition to all these, there were 
numerous little gashes covering the scalp, wearing the 
appearance of having been made by the corner of a 
hatchet, or some tool having a blunt edge, while there 
wa9 a total absence of one arm, for which no one could 



30 

account. The bruises and cuts were easily accounted 
for upon general principles, but the absence of the arm 
was a matter that excited the curiosity of all. 

"The jail in which Henry was confined was a typical 
Southern jail, contracted in its dimensions, poorly ven- 
tilated, and filth}' bej'ond all reason. The atmosphere 
of this institution was impregnated with foul odors, 
which emanated from the stagnant fluids contained in 
slop-pails, that stood around lacking attention, and of 
vermin there was no limit. The walls of his cell were 
covered with sheet iron, while a bundle of rags in one 
corner of the room answered the purpose of a bed. His 
food was the proverbial corn bread and fat bacon. 
When occasional deliveries of this jail took place, the 
prisoners had only to escape to a swamp in the rear of 
the building and their freedom was secured, for the old 
sheriff made no effort to pursue them beyond the mar- 
gin, where he would discharge his fowling-piece and beat 
a hasty retreat. At length the trial of Henry took 
place, and his innocent wife, who had in the meantime 
been arrested also, as particeps crimints, and lodged in 
jail with him, was compelled to bear a portion of his 
disgrace and sufferings. Henry was convicted of mur- 
der, but his wife was set free without da3^ Alter he 
had received the sentence of death, he dismissed all 
hope of pardon on this side of the grave, made a com- 
plete confession of the crime, and sought the services of 



31 

a minister of the gospel. He never did, however, 
account for the missing arm, concerning which there 
were two theories in vogue; one of which was that when 
the woman was pushed into the water and drowned, as 
Henry had confessed, the arm was chopped off by her 
murderer while clinging to the log upon which he stood; 
but the other theorj', which was the favorite one among 
the colored people, was that after being cast into the 
pond, an alligator, or some other monstrous reptile, had 
torn the limb from the body, as the mangled stump 
seemed to indicate. 

*' Hangman's day was a gala day in the South then 
as now," he continued ; " and the day on which Henry 
Woods wfl.s executed was no exception to the rule. 
Long before the hour appointed for the execution, people 
of all colors, ages and conditions began to flock to the 
scene of the sad event, which was the Public Square of 
Hudson ville. Young and old, large and small, rich and 
poor, the vigorous and decrepit all came — in wagons and 
buggies, on horseback and afoot, they crowded the roads 
leading to the village. It seemed as though all the 
plantations and hamlets within a radius of twenty miles 
had poured out their inhabitants and- sent them forth 
on one grand holiday excursion. They filled all the 
vacant space within the bounds of the Public Square, 
they crowded the stores and dwelling-houses, and even 
the neighboring house and tree- tops were made to do 



32 

service on this occasioD. Those inseperable attendants 
of holiday assemblages^ circusses and camp meetings in 
the South — the gingerbread, beer and peanut-venders — 
were on the scene, ministering to the wants of the 
hungry; while the effects of corn whisky were plainly 
discernable in the flushed cheeks, unsteady gait and 
heated discussions of those who had imbibed it, so slight 
was the moral effect of the public execution which was 
within an hour to be consummated in their very 
presence. 

"At precisely twelve o'clock the gloomy procession 
appeared, with the doomed man in their midst. The 
victim wore an ordinar}' suit of black clothing, kindly 
donated for the occasion, had his arms firmly bound at 
the elbows and wrists, a black cap on his head and a 
halter around his neck. During the mournful march 
from the jail to the scaflbld, his wife, who was in a 
neighboring house, gave forth a series of most heart- 
rending shrieks, and the whole combined furnished such 
a scene as brought tears from the eyes of the strongest 
man present. The victim mounted the fatal drop with 
placid composure, in strange contrast with the agitation 
observable on the part of the rest. He submitted with- 
out a murmur to having his knees and ankles bound, 
and then he addressed the crowd. He acknowledged 
his guilt; denied that he mutilated the body by cutting 
off the arm referred to; warned those in his presence 



against the evils of bad company and kindred evils, and 
concluded by asserting his willingness to die and com- 
mending his soul to the Savior. A hymn was then 
''lined ouf by the minister present, in the singing of 
which the doomed man took the lead. The good sisters 
present shouted and prayed by turns, and in the midst 
of all this confusion the trap was sprung which launched 
the soul of Henry Woods into eternity. The drop was 
too long, and the result was the feet of the victim rested 
upon the earth. Several strong men rushed to assist the 
sheriff, and raised up the body until the rope could 
be shortened. The body was even then motionless and 
void of any evidence of animation to the casual observer, 
although there might have been a perceptible motion of 
the pulse to the medical expert. After hanging there 
for the space of an hour, it was lowered into a 
rough pine box and turned over to the relations of the 
deceased for burial." 

When Cousin William had concluded this interesting 
narration it was noticed that the children had succumbed 
to the influence of the springing motion of the buggies 
and fallen asleep, while the old pond had been left far in 
the rear. 

In this connection it may not be considered out of 
place to remark that the supply of water power by the 
]x>nd referred to was sufficient to have run spindles and 
looms enough to spin and weave all the cotton fibre 

7 



i 



34 

produced in that vicinity, yet it was utterly disregarded, 
subjected to no practical use, and permitted to waste. 
Perhaps the future will bring forth some Southern 
political economist who will undertake to explain the 
reason why the producers of the South continue to persist 
in their lavish wastefulness: why they ignore all the 
teachings of the past and the rules and maxims of 
economy, and cling to their ante helium habits. At 
present no adequate excuse presents itself so far as the 
writer is aware of. They plant their cotton and garner 
it; they press it into bales and sell it to foreign man - 
ufacturers for a small price, and then buy it back 
again, manufactured into fabrics of various kinds, at a 
greatly increased figure. They harvest their sugar-cane ; 
press out the juice and reduce it to sugar, syrup and 
molasses, and in many instances leave the clarifying and 
renovating process to be done by Northern labor and 
enterprise. Very poor land, which will scarcely produce 
the tithe of a crop of cotton, is still subjected to the 
culture of the fibre, while the same land, if given to the 
production of corn, sweet potatoes, peas, and other like 
produce, would repay the laborer's toil and render it 
possible for one to obtain articles of ordinary diet for the 
table in some sections where now scarcely the invalid is 
able to subsist, so completely is the whole territory 
given to the culture of cotton. The writer has an 
acquaintance who once walked more than eight miles in 



35 

scouring the country thereabouts in the almost vain 
effort to procure a tender chicken for an invalid wife. 
And it is a matter of no very unfrequent occurrence that 
when at times the boats are delayed bj^ drouth, or other- 
wise, a whole town or district is deprived of such com- 
mon articles of food as flour and bacon, coffee and sugar; 
and, surprising as it may seem, there i/^as a time during 
the writer's residence in Hudsonville, when corn for the 
live stock was held at a premium because of its scarcity; 
and this, too, when the village was literall}' surrounded 
with well cultivated plantations. 

This ruinous policy on the part of the South was very 

aptly illustrated by Judge a few weeks ago when, 

in the course of a public address on the occasion of a 
reception which had been tendered one of our prominent 
citizens by the people of Columbia, South Carolina, he 
said in substance as follows : '* We sell our raw hides at 
eight and ten cents a pound, and ship them to the North ; 
we furnish the red oak bark to tan them with; after- 
wards we buy back the tanned leather and pay you 
thirty-five and forty cents per pound for it." Nor are 
the many inconveniences attending such a policy the 
least objectionable feature attending this policy; for we 
must not lose sight of the additional fact that, while the 
producers fail to realize the increased profit accruing 
from the manufacturing of the raw materials into their 
ultimate forms; while their cities and towns languish for 



36 

the want of remunerative employmeut for the men and 
the young women who might become to be of assistance 
in providing the necessaries of life for large and needy 
families, and the tide of immigration is stayed from its 
onward tendency in that direction; all of which causes 
have their force in seriously discouraging and retarding 
the growth of that whole section of country : while all 
these facts exist, I say, the additional fact remains to be 
written that the people of the South are actually paying 
out of their meagre surplus, representing the profits on 
their crops, the price of twice handling the goods and 
conveying them to and from places remote from the 
sections where they are consumed. The South expe- 
rienced the folly of this policy to her sorrow during the 
recent rebellion, when she was a dependent upon her 
enemies for the sinews of war, and her sons and daugh- 
ters, in many instances, walked the streets of her 
commercial centers clothed almost literally in sackcloth ; 
for it is related, on good authority, that in some 
instances carpeting was utilized as a covering for the 
person, and boots and shoes were ranked as the greatest 
luxuries. In those days parched corn husks took the 
place of coffee, and butternut cotton goods were substi- 
tuted for broad -cloth. 

But we have digressed from our original topic. We 
have passed the fifteen-mile post, just five miles from the 
village of Oriole, the first on oi|r route, and as w^ f^r^ 



37 

desirous of reaching that point before three o'clock we 
must urge on our horses. Once there, we shall unhitch 
and feed them, while we partake of a slight repast 
ourselves. 

But, stay; we are approaching objects of importance. 
** What are those moss covered buildings just in advance 
of us, cousin Henry?" 

'^They are an old church and school-house, cousin 
John; and that lonely- looking space just in the rear is a 
cemetery, or 'grave-yard,' as they are called here," he 
answered. 

Kind reader, excuse us for a moment while we hold 
the baby, so that our patient wife can change her posi- 
tion, for she vows that the low brace attached to our 
buggy, called a back, is torturing her, and a change must 
be made, and that without delay; afterwards we shall 
return to the church, the school-house and the deserted 
cemetery. 



CHAPTER III. 



The Old Church and School House. — Beflections on their Style 
of Architecture. — The Forgotten Dead. — Superstitious Dread of 
Ghosts on the part of the Inhabitants. — Witchcraft and Conjura- 
tion — Peculiar Antics of a Pretended Conjurer.-^His Legal Com- 
plications and Happy Deliverance.— Despondency and Gloom 
occasioned by a Belief in the same. — Ignorance the Cause of these 
Superstitious Beliefs. — Its Existence in Germany, England, and 
New England in the Past.— Day beginning to Dawn in the South. 



*^ When I am dead and gone from you darling, 

When I'm laid low in my grave, 
And my spirit has gone to Heaven above, 

To Him who my soul has saved ; 
When you are happy and gay once more, 

Thinking of days that have been ; 
This one little favor I ask of you. 

See that my grave is kept green.'' 

It is not the intention of the writer to refer so partic- 
ularly to the church and school house in this connection, 
as to the forlorn cemeterj'^ beyond, for aside from the dila- 
pidated appearance of these relics of the past, and the 
memories of days that have now become historical, which 
are recalled by their presence, there was nothing con- 
nected with them worthy of especial mention. It is true, 
the old well beneath the spreading oak over there^ with 



39 

ancient sweep and detached pole and moss covered buck- 
et, carried us back in imagination to the time when the 
lads and lassies of that section mounted upon their 
frisking steeds, who after accomplishing their sabbath 
days journey to the house of the Lord, dismounted by its 
side, and quenched their thirst from its refreshing con- 
tents; to say nothing of the little ones, (children of the 
favored few) who found in its crystal draught an ever- 
ready excuse to escape the vigilant eye of the school 
master, on the sultry summer^s day. 

And who that has read the story of the afflictions 
and persecutions of the colored race in the south, could 
even casually glance at the shattered panes, broken 
doors, dust covered pulpit and uncushioned seats with 
backs so erect and unyielding as to reflect to some de- 
gree the cruel dispositions of those who were wont to 
occupy them, while beneath the ministrations of some 
sedate divine they searched the Scriptures in the vain 
endeavor to discover some maxim or command that 
would justify or even extenuate the sin of human slavery 
indulged in by them. But there was nothing connected 
with these time honored ruins that carried the mind 
back to an era of thrift and advancement, when the in- 
tellect was unclouded and the ambition soared to sub- 
lime conceptions: nothing in the architectural design of 
these, suggestive of the Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Com- 
posite, Gothic or any other school known to the artist; 



i 



40 

but everything was flat, and unpretentious, in perfect 
keeping with a generation that courted ease and exemp- 
tion from toil, at the expense of the sweat, the blood and 
lives of a whole race of people; and who preferred 
rather to devote their time to forging fetters for their 
limbs and training blood-hounds for the inhuman chase, 
than to unfolding the god-like qualities of mind and 
soul, and contributing toward the amelioration of human 
woes. 

But let us look at this little cemetery — this last rest- 
ing place of the forgotton dead. I say forgotten ; and I 
think rightly so; for who could look upon that lonely 
deserted space all covered with rank weeds and inhabited 
by serpents, and come to anj^ other conclusion. Here 
were no marble slab or monument, bearing an inscription 
of love and kind remembrance; not even a stake, in 
some instances, remained to mark the grave of one who 
formerly graced the board ; it might have been a fond 
parent, or perhaps a kind and loving brother or sister. 

Who knows but that beneath those very weeds and 
rubbish, lay the remains of one who once was the joy 
and light of the household, such an one as could have led 
captive the heart of wealth and virtue; one whose merry 
voice resounded through these very groves, fit company 
for the little song birds, that acknowledged her coming 
with songs of delight; whose flaxen tresses floated lightly 
on the summer breezes, disclosing to view a bust of ala- 



41 

baster and form angelic; and it may be that those little 
feet once capered nimbly o'er the well scrubbed floor to 
the ^'lascivious pleasing" of a stringed instrument in 
the hands of a native musician. But now all is for- 
gotten; no loving soul, fondly cherishing her memory, 
bends the knee beside her lonely grave, to plant a rose 
bush or ivy vine; no one drops a tear,8ilently saying — 
" Gone but not forgotten." 

Under the circumstances is it to be wondered at that 
a general feeling of superstitious dread of ghosts pervad- 
ed the community in that section of country? and that 
even persons who would not have hesitated to beard 
the lion in his den or face the enemv on the field of 
battle, could not have been hired, coaxed or scared into 
visiting that cemetery, or any other cemetery indeed, 
after night fall ? To have undertaken to persuade some 
of the people in that locality that there were no such 
existences in fact as ghosts, and convince them that 
what they mistook for these ethereal substances were 
only results of a distorted imagination, would have been 
a futile task ; for it was a belief not only inculcated from 
their childhood, until it had become to be a part of their 
religious belief, but they had even imbibed it from their 
mother's breast. The writer can recall instances in his 
childhood days when one of his daily chores was to go to 
the residence of Judge , a wealthy old slave hold- 
er, and fetch back our daily allowance of milk, and 

"6" 



42 

since this duty was frequently performed after night 
fall, no little embarrassment was experienced on his part 
by reason of the ghost stories with which he was regaled 
by those with whom he came in contact on the judge's 
premises. " Aunt Hannah " would tell of the dead 
groaning in their graves, when certain passages of 
scripture were read over them, on certain nights of the 
year at the hour of "low twelve;" " LittleAunt}'," would 
tell of a haunted house on the writer's wa}' to his home, 
where lights were blown out and strange noises heard 
at all hours of night, in which no one could be induced 
to reside for love nor money; while Augustus would 
relate that a real ghost had been seen a few days prior, 
walking in the village cemetery, and vow that not for 
his libert}' (he was a slave) could he be induced to enter 
that cemetery after dark. And often on a winter s night 
after sitting and hearing these ghost stories repeated 
around the famih' circle, one's heart would leap within 
him at the rustling of a garment or the movement of a 
mouse, and in imagination he was even then in the pre • 
sence of a veritable " Spirit of health or goblin damned ;" 
and as for sleep, it was a stranger to his eyelids for 
wear}' hours, and when at last it came, it brought with 
it dreams such as were better calculated to disturb than 
refresh the mind. And while considering this subject, 
we are tempted to refer also to another superstitious 
belief which has become firmly seated in the minds of 



4.> 

many persons of both colors in the South. I refer to 
the belief in witchcraft and conjuration, the latter of 
which 80 far as I am informed is only a modification of 
the former, according to their teachings and belief. 
They not only refer to the traditions of their ancestors 
as the basis of this sill}- belief, but even go so far as to 
point with pride to certain passages of the Scriptures, to 
be found in the Old Testament, in justification of it; 
and with a look of triumph ask you whether 3'ou are 
wiser than the inspired writers. Gray haired matrons 
and sires, "with one foot in the grave," who rest 
their future happiness on a lirm belief in the teachings 
of the meek and lowly Savior, will prate for hours of 
witches, that enter dwellings through key holes, and 
can only be killed by being shot with silver balls; while 
they are as completely enslaved by their superstitious 
fears, maxims, luck}'' and unlucky days, and as much 
subjected by the force of the same, as though they were 
" r the stocks," or *' fettered to the soil." . Diseases 
that under other circumstances would be attributed 
to ordinary causes, are laid at the door of witches 
and conjurers, and the only practical and reasonable 
treatments are ignored, while enchantments of various 
kinds, amulets, and charms are resorted to as a means of 
relief. Cups are turned, roots of various kinds are dug 
from the earth and treasured up, horse shoes and bones 
of animals are suspended in the house or nailed over the 



44 

doorSy cards are shuffled and their dread portents read 
with alarm ; children arc taught to religiously avoid step- 
ping in the " fresh tracks " of those who have preceded 
them on the road; to enter a house at one door and depart 
by the same, the}' consider an ill omen ; to turn back is a 
sign of bad luck, because Lot's wife looked back and was 
turned into a pillar of salt; an old shoe is cast after. a 
newly married couple, and the life and death of the 
contracting parties to every marriage are influenced 
by the state of the weather at the time of its consumma- 
tion. All the foregoing signs are regarded with religious 
scrupulousness, to say nothing of the phazes of the moon 
and lucky and unlucky stars; a few marks upon the 
earth or a crooked stick in the way, excites as much 
curiosity, more indeed, than a venomous reptile would. 

The writer recalls an incident in this connection, 
which occurred during his sojurn in the South, that goes 
far toward illustrating the subject under consideration. 
Not far from the village of Hudsonville there was situated 
a large cotton plantation, the property of a Mr. Sackett, 
of Charleston. There were extensive quarters upon this 
land for tlie accommodation of the hands, of whom there 
were a goodly number. The overseer, together with his 
wife and children, composed the white portion ol the 
inhabitants, while the colored hands constituted the 

4 

remainder. They were of the average intelligence 
found in that section of the country. During the spring 



45 

of the year 1872, a peculiar-looking genius, tall of 
stature, dark of complexion, wearing knee breeches, a 
red flannel shirt and a very broad-brimmed straw hat, 
made his appearance upon the plantation aforesaid, 
carrying in his hand a small satchel, containing numerous 
vials filled with liquid substances of various colors. He 
a«pnounced himself as being a votary at the &hrine of his 
Satanic majesty, with whom he was in league, and by 
whose aid and assistance he possessed power not only 
over all the various diseases and ills to which humanity 
is heir, but even succeeded in convincing some of the 
members of the little community that he held in his 
power the destinies of all who came within reach of his 
magic arts. He could unfold the secrets of the past and 
present, and prognosticate the future. His bearing and 
attire were so very peculiar that he experienced little 
difficult}' in securing free access to the rude cabins, 
where he gratuitously obtained his dinner and supper. 
During the interval between these meals he improved 
the opportunity of telling the fortunes of several of the 
heads of families and their wives. To some husbands 
he unfolded the infidelity of their wives, and then he, in 
turn, revealed to the grief-stricken wives all the myste- 
ries of their husbands' guilty loves. The result of all 
this treachery was that there were few cabins on that 
plantation during the following night where peace and 
quiet prevailed. Mutual accusations were made; mutual 



46 

explanations and protestations followed; then curses 
and hissing epithets were showered down freely upon 
the head of the presumptuous wretch — the vice-gerent of 
" Old Nick " — who was the cause of all the trouble. At 
last the impostor was ferreted out, bound hand and foot 
and, after having been ridden on the " ragged edge " of a 
rail through the quarters, he was turned over to th^ 
tender mercies of the minions of the law. The trial 
justice's office was crowded on the following morning 
with witnesses and anxious spectators, determined to 
see that right and j ustice prevailed. 

The justice's office was situated on an isolated town 
lot, flanked on either side with small " patches " of corn. 
The corn was now sufficiently advanced to be about five 
feet in height, which in that locality was not more than 
half height. The case was called " The State of South 
Carolina against John Doe." The now thoroughly 
frightened victim was led to the bar of justice; the win- 
dows and the door were open, and yet the heat was 
oppressive and the atmosphere stifling. 

When the defendant had patiently listened to the 
reading of the charge preferred against him, he mur- 
mured not, but entered a plea of " guilty." Then, as if 
to seek relief, he exclaimed, " Sheriff, for goodness sake 
give me a little water, or 1 shall faint;" at the same 
instant reaching forward toward the water bucket, 
which stood on a shelf near the door. The crowd, now 



47 

partially reconciled, stood apart to give the fainting 
man a chance, when, with a leap and a bound, the bird 
escaped, and in another moment, as he sped through the 
corn, the rows actually parted to receive him, so s^reat 
was his speed. Talk of pursuing him ! one had as well 
have undertaken to pursue the frightened stag or to 
chase the bird on the wing, so rapid were his movements. 
He never smiled on us again, and the last word that was 
heard of him was brought b}^ a wagoner, who had 
encountered him in an adjoining county, where by means 
of a black cord stretched across the road and his vials 
of liquids, he had frightened some of the ignorant 
ones, and was actually demanding and receiving from 
them small sums of money as an indemnity against 
evil. 

This is a strange recital, but true nevertheless, I do 
not hesitate to assert that death itself were preferable to 
a condition of mind such as enslaves those who are 
the victims of that cruel superstitious belief known as 
conjuration, when from the very nature of its teachings 
they are cut off from all hope, and relegated to gloomy 
forebodings and despair. Let us hope that a brighter 
day is dawning for the deluded souls in the Sunny 
South, when intelligence and reason shall prevail, and 
ignorance shall be dispelled. Then all these supersti- 
tious beliefs will be banished. The time was when in 
some of the most enlightened portions of the earth 



48 

similar beliefs prevailed to an alarming extent; for we 
are told by Macauley that in the beginning of the six- 
teenth century death was first pronounced against all 
who should be convicted of witchcraft; also that about 
the year 1515, five hundred witches were executed in 
Genoa in the space of three months ; and that about one 
hundred thousand persons were executed in Germany 
from the publication of the bull of Innocent VIII., in 
the beginning of the sixteenth century, up to the sup- 
pression of the evil: in some instances children not 
more than nine years of age being the victims. And, mi- 
rabile dictu, we are informed that even in " Old England," 
in the year 1716, a Mrs. Hix and her little daughter, 
aged nine years, were hanged at Huntington for selling 
their souls to the devil and raising a storm by pulling 
off their stockings and making a lather of soap; and 
that no less than thirty thousand were executed in 
England for witchcraft. And when, in addition to the 
foregoing, we recall the fact that even in our own 
beloved country bitter persecutions have taken place on 
this same account, we need not marvel that it exists in 
the South among those who have not enjoyed the 
elevating infiuence of education and modern teachings. 
But, stay; I have detained the reader so long with my 
musings and anecdotes that we are now in sight of the 
village of Oriole. 

The children are awake again and waking the echoes. 



49 

rejoiced at the idea of pressing mother earth once more 
with their little feet; and even our fatigued horses have 
quickened their pace, fully cognizant of the fact that 
they are nearing the end of the first stage. We shall 
meet again in the village. 



CHAPTEB IV. 



Oriole.-^It8 Appearance, Population, etc. — Edward Hill, our 
Host. — Some Account of his Early Life and Subsequent Career. — 
Labor and Perseverance Conquers All. — Sacrifice of Principle 
Essential to Success in the South Then as Now. — Our Bepast. — 
The Menu, — " CoUards." — Moral Status of the Denizens of Oriole. 
— Brown's Opinion: "It is Worse than New York." — Beminis- 
cence of a Former Visit to This Place.-r-Beflections on the Treat- 
ment of Colored People in all parts of the South. 



The village of Oriole would never have existed unless 
the W. & R. Rail Road had been constructed ; and as it 
owes its origin to that rail road, to a similar degree it 
was dependent upon it for its means of support. The 
" shops " were located here, together with a round house 
for the accommodation of locomotives, and these supplied 
employment for the heads of the greater number of fam- 
ilies in the place. A ware house, three varieties stores, 
and four groggeries for the accommodation of the inhab- 
itants and "stranger guests," who flocked in at stated 
intervals from the surrounding territor}^ completed the 
list of business establishments, if we except a dingy 
looking excuse for an hotel, of which, more further on. 
As the afternoon was far advanced, and both tourists 
and beasts of burden were sadly in need of refreshments 
we did not tarry to make an inspection of the "town," or 



51 

even to gratify the idiotic stare of the lonesome looking 
inhabitants, but urged our steeds forward to the suburbs 
where resided an old acquaintance, in the person of Mr. 
Edward Hill, a gentleman of color, the head and chief 
support of a large and growing famil3\ Mr. Hill was 
the personification of a self made man, viewed from one 
aspect, and furnished a fair illustration of what a man, 
devoid of intellectual training beyond such as he 
could acquire under adverse circumstances, proscribed 
by a wicked and embarrassing caste prejudice, can ac- 
complish, if he only possesses a sober, industrious char- 
acter, coupled with a will to overcome. Edward Hill was 
more than the foregoing; he was a fair type of a large 
class of colored men who were then as now struggling 
against adverse fate in the South, in the laudable effort 
to vindicate the good name of the so called freedmen of 
that section. Edward was born a slave in the state of 
" Old Virginia;" he had no remembrance of his mother 
or father, because he was separated from them in his in- 
fancy, they having been sold to a *' speculator," who 
carried them to one of the gulf states, as was supposed, 
and disposed of them to the producers of sugar and cot- 
ton. When quite a lad, he was purchased by Colonel 
Hill, one of the former residents of that count}^ and 
given employment as a plantation hand on his land, in 
which capacity he soon became to be a favorite, by 
reason of his industrious habits and pleasing disposition. 



52 

When the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, 
Edward, like the remainder of the hands, became to be 
a free man, and without a month's delay, set about earn- 
ing a livelihood for his family ; for he had already taken 
unto himself a wife, after the plantation fashion then 
prevailing, and was even then the father of several 
promising little children. 

Colonel Hill, his former master, furnished him a 
piece of land, containing about twenty-five acres, upon 
the condition that Edward should give him a portion 
of the net proceeds, after defraying the expenses of 
producing the crop; which was supposed to be a very fair 
transaction on the part of the Colonel for the time and 
locality in which he resided. In order to procure the 
necessary implements of agriculture, as well as means of 
sustenance while the process of cultivating the crop was 
taking place, our friend was compelled to execute a lien 
upon the whole crop and his personal effects to a grocer 
in the town, as was the universal custom in all that 
region of country. His power consisted of an old horse, 
which he had purchased for a trifle, and a small steer, 
hardly tractable, but yet under the vigorous and skillful 
handling of his master capable of doing good service. 
In the midst of the season, at a time when bis crop most 
needed attention, Edward had the misfortune to lose his 
horse, and then there w^s to be seen an example of 



53 

pluck and energy scarcely equaled, certainly not excelled, 
by the fabled heroes of ancient mythology; for this 
determined man did not sit in despondency and gloom 
and bewail his loss; but, shall I tell it, while his eldest 
son guided the plow behind the little steer, his loving 
wife stood in the same capacity to him, for he actually 
drew the plow which she guided. No member of that 
family was permitted to be idle, even the little ones 
assisting in various ways. The result of all this heroic 
effort was that at the end of the season Edward had a 
surplus, after paying all his debts, and the next spring 
found him entering upon his preparations for another 
crop with a good horse and wagon, which he could call 
his own. And so he had continued to labor, year after 
year, until now, after the laps^ of nine years, wc found 
him the owner of a large tract of well-improved land, 
completely stocked, and capable of producing, even in 
an average season, twenty-five bales of cotton, which was 
at that time worth in the aggregate about eighteen 
hundred dollars. This is the class of colored men so 
often referred to by members of Congress and others 
from the South in vindication of the " wise and humane " 
policy adopted by them toward those who were formerly 
their slaves. They say: *' Behold Edward Hill, only 
nine years a free man. and yet the owner of a large farm 
and its appurtenances, with a net income of at least a 



54 

thousand dollars per year. Where is your colored 
citizen in the North that is doing as well." By way of 
answer to all such we have simply to say that, while 
Edward throve and accumulated property, he did it at a 
fabulous cost, namely: the utter sacrifice of his man- 
hood; the subjection of all his eivil and political 
convictions to the dictates of those whom he dared not 
deny as Jiis superiors. He did it by eschewing all 
political discussions, and even the ballot-box, except 
when, for the sake of satisfying his neighbors, he voted 
the Democratic ticket, against which his soul and con- 
victions rebelled within him. But, hearken! they are 
calling us to dinner or supper, which ever you please, 
for it is rather late for dinner and somewhat early for 
supper; and, while we have been following our friend 
over his farm, viewing his possessions and listening to a 
recital of his struggles to obtain it, the ladies, " God 
bless them," have prepared our frugal repast, and now 
^e must partake of it. Mrs. Hill had very kindly 
prepared us some hot coffee, while our good wives had 
pooled the contents of their several baskets for the com- 
mon repast. The menu was not such an one as would 
have been apt to stimulate the appetite of a fastidious 
person, accustomed to an elaborate bill of fare, but the 
viands were relished nevertheless, as the appearance of 
the dishes, after we had finished, showed. We had as a 



55 

BILL OF FABE, 

the following: 

No Soup : No Fish : 

Boiled Bacon, very fat and cold, with Clollards: 
Stewed Chicken, with DumplingR: 
Sweet Potatoes: 
Fried Chicken: 
More Collards: 
Corn Bread: Pickles: 
Apple Pie: 
Coffee: 
A few more Collards. 
The uninitiated may be curious to know what col- 
lards are; and since you have the profoundest sympa- 
thies of the writer, patient reader, if you have never 
eaten any of them, he will undertake to enlighten 
you a little on that subject. 

Collards are a species of the cabbage plant, of a dark 
green color; they are cultivated like cabbages, and have 
almost the exact appearance of cabbages until they 
become advanced in age. The cabbage heads; the col- 
lard does not head. But the coUard does begin to head, 
and forms a closed lump in the center about the size of 
an orange, which turns white after being touched by 
frost, while the surrounding leaves are only streaked 
with white. To the inhabitants of the country districts 
of the South, where there are no markets, and the daily 
allowance consists of salt meat, rice, potatoes and the 



56 

like, and where fresh beef is scarcely ever tasted by the 
poor people, the coUard is a very great blessing; because 
when boiled in a pot with a piece of fat meat and balls 
of corn meal dough, having the size and appearance of 
ordinary white turnips, called dumplings, it makes pal- 
atable a diet which would otherwise be all but intolera- 
ble. And thej" are very dearly liked by nearly ever}'^ 
one who has been raised on Southein soil, including 
even some of her most dignified statesmen. 

After dinner we improved the opportunity of taking 
a stroll through the principal street of the village, where 
a fair opportunity was offered of studying the moral 
and intellectual status of the inhabitants. In front of 
the stores and groggeries benches were invariably to be 
seen, upon which lounged numerous inferior specimens 
of humanity, smoking clay pipes with long reed stems, 
squirting tobacco juice, whittling pine sticks, and "spin- 
ning yarns." It was a scene such as was repeated 
seventy-five times out of a hundred to the vision of the 
southern tourists at that period of the South's history. 
Invariably one could see hitched near by one or more 
horses, saddled and bridled — a favorite mode of travel- 
ing in that country. Of oaths of a most blasphemous 
nature there was no limit, and to the mind of the 
average^ Northener the suggestion forced itself that there 
was a suitable field for the faithful missionary desirous 
of doing something in the service of the Master. 



57 

A year previous to this time, Brown, with his 
fighting proclivities, had gone to this village and opened 
a small grocery store, in which he also retailed a little 
of " the ardent." He had not been there three months 
before he had received as many challenges to fight at 
fisticufl*s, all of which he had to accept or else wear the 
brand of coward, which would not only have subjected 
him to every conceivable annoyance from even his 
physical inferiors, but also jeopardized his success in 
business there. On one occasion he was compelled to 
bar his doors and windows for several hours, until 
assistance arrived; and, on another, he was shot in the 
leg, and confined to his bed for several weeks. Brown 
finally, after a brave struggle, lost courage, sold his 
place and moved to Hudsonville, vowing that he would 
not live in Oriole if any one should give him the best 
place in the town, exclaiming: "Why, upon my word 
of honor, it is worse than New York," which in his 
opinion was no compliment, for he was in New York 
City during the hanging of colored men and burning of 
the Colored Orphan Asylum by Democrats in 1863. 

The writer now recalls an incident of a trip to 
this village, a few months prior to the time referred 
to. His family, consisting of his wife and little boy, 
not two years of age, together with himself, were sufler- 
ing from the effects of a protracted spell of fever and 
ague, as well as the hurtful results of enormous doses of 

"ST 



58 

quinine and calomel, thathad been administered to them 
by the physicians employed. We were hardly convales- 
cent, very weak, and it was thought that the life of the 
little one hung by a thread almost. As a last resort, it 
was decided to try the effects of a colder climate, and a 
visit to our kind relatives and friends in Northern Ohio 
was undertaken. Our first stage lay over the same 
rough road that we have just described, and in order 
that we might be at the station in time to take the early 
morning train it was necessary to travel all night. 
When we arrived at Oriole on the following morning, 
cold, wenry and almost heart-broken, we keenly' felt the 
need of some nourishing food, and the writer imme- 
diatel}"^ applied at the only hotel in the place for accom- 
modation. We were flatlj'^ refused; receiving as an 
answer from the landlord — " We don't feed niggers 
here; our boarders will not allow it. If you choose you 
can go in the kitchen and eat." We looked around. 
There sat several sickly-looking men, who appeared as if 
their only mission on earth was to eat cla}' and spit 
tobacco juice, and the}'^ leered at us as though we had 
committed the unpardonable sin. Why are we so dis- 
gracefully treated? the writer asked himself. We are 
clean, our deportment is good, and we are fully prepared 
to liquidate all bills. Ah, alas! I forgot; it is because 
our complexions are less fair than theirs. The day will 
come when the rights of men shall be respected in this 



59 

South regardless of color, birth or previous condition. 
"Eat in the kitchen!" Why, indulgent reader, the 
kitchen was a filth hole, dark and repelling, the noisome 
odors of which would have attracted the attention of the 
health officers in any well-regulated Northern city with- 
out delay. And so we were compelled to grope around 
in a strange place, among strangers, until coming in 
contact with a large-hearted black man, a Good Samari- 
tan in the full acceptance of the term, our wants were 
supplied, and we went on our way rejoicing. This is 
only one instance of the kind from hundreds that 
might be mentioned, showing that while colored men in 
the South are acceptable as farm hands; while they are 
sought after as house servants, and permitted to almost 
monopolize all classes of menial employment, and the 
women in some instances serve as wet nurses, yet they are 
not good enough in the estimation of very ordinary- white 
Southerners to hold places of official trust, or sit at the 
same table with them. 

In fact, occurrences on a par with the one just 
referred to, took place in several instances during the 
remainder of our journey to Ohio. Even in the city of 
Baltimore we were threatened with ejection from the 
parlor or waiting room of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail 
Road depot, and it was only by the most persistent 
effort, and positive threats of a civil action against the 
company for damages, that we prevented the action from 



60 

being taken. And again, in our passage from Baltimore 
to another locality, on the Chesapeake Bay, we were re- 
fused such reasonable and ordinary accommodation as 
was accorded to the average white traveler, who was able 
to pay for it. It is a sore affliction for men in any 
station in life, however ignorant and humble soever they 
may be to be debarred of the common courtesies and 
necessaries of life; but when a class of persons who have 
spent a portion of their da^'s among civilized and mag- 
nanimous people, such as are to be found in many sec- 
tions of the North, and who have gained such a degree 
of information, and culture as to know and appreciate 
the rights and duties of citizens to one another, are 
denied them in plain violation of all law, it is downright 
persecution and torture. There is no city in the South 
at the present time, where a colored gentleman can obtain 
first class fare at an ordinary hotel; and indeed, it 
would be almost at the cost of his life that even the at- 
tempt would be made in many instances. Nor is this 
all ; in some parts of the South they not only have sep- 
arate apartments provided for colored people in their rail 
road cars, but they have gone so far as to put benches in 
dilapidated box cars for their accommodation, which are 
at times suffered to become most intolerably filthy for 
the want of a little attention. And this practice is even 
carried to street cars in some cities, where the anxious 
patron is compelled to await the arrival of one bearing 



61 

the legend " Colored People's Car," or else walk to his 
place of destination. But all the objects of interest are 
now examined. Let us return to the house and assist 
the women and children in their preparations for the 
prosecution of our journey; for there are fifteen miles 
before us yet to be traveled before we seek repose. The 
children must be well wrapped too, for we are in the 
vicinity of the Great Dismal Swamp, and when the sun 
has set the atmosphere will be impregnated with noisome 
vapors freighted with miasma whence spring so many of 
the destructive diseases, of which the South is so prolific. 
In the meantime, cousin Henr}^ let me insist that you do 
slacken your speed in the future for it will not be at all 
agreeable to be left behind in this lonesome neighborhood. 
On our way hither you left us so far behind that we 
came near losing ourselves, but, thanks to a pair of vig- 
orous lungs we were enabled to attract your attention 
and arrest your speed. 

Once more we are safely mounted, and away. Good 
bye Mr. Hill and family 1 Good bye Oriole ! May you 
both prosper and live long. 



64 

munication with the outer world being cut off until the 
waters subside; and in one instance, at least, the writer 
is reminded, there was an actual scarcity of the neces- 
saries of life in the little village of Hudsonville for the 
reason last stated. One of the amusing incidents of the 
last freshet that we were witness to (and they are 
characterized b3'' amusing as well as sad scenes) was 
connected with the postal service of the village. Hobbs 
was the mail agent; he had been prior to the war a 
slave; hence he was poor and had not the most approved 
facilities for conveying the mail from the nearest rail 
road station to the post office, a distance of fourteen 
miles. At the accustomed hour, on the occasion referred 
to, the greater portion of the male inhabitants of the 
place went to the post office, as was their custom, to 
await the arrival and distribution of the mail; but as 
time wore on and the mail did not arrive, the3" betook 
them to their homes in a disappointed frame of mind. 
On the following morning a courier arrived direct from 
Hobbs, bearing the information that he had started with 
his mail bag on the previous evening, but the freshet 
overtaking him he was obliged to seek safety in a tree, 
leaving his horse to escape as best he could, and that he 
was still up in the tree, where he had guarded the mail 
bag all the live-long night. The courier closed his 
s.tatement with a most earnest request from Mr. Hobbs 
that relief be immediately sent to him. However, before 



65 

assistance could be sent, Hobbs was descried in the 
distance, trudging faithfully along the road, with the 
precious burden on his shoulder, to the joy and delight 
of all. He had availed himself of the kind assistance of 
people in the vicinity, until he reached dry land, when 
he bid defiance to distance or the weight of his load, 
and started for home afoot. But he was not always so 
fortunate, for on another occasion he was shut out from 
us, and we were deprived of the benefits of the mail for 
nearly a whole week, without intermission. 

It may seem strange to many persons living at dis- 
tances remote from these swamps, upon high and well 
drained land, that an intelligent class of persons could 
be induced to locate in close proximity to them, when 
there is so much land better adapted to the wants of 
man; especially since the atmosphere in this vicinity 
during certain seasons of the year is so thoroughly im- 
pregnated with miasm as to breed diseases of various 
kinds which bring in their train suff*ering and death. 
This action on their part may be attributed to various 
infiuences, such as the well known infiuences of nativity 
and pecuniary interest, inability to dispose of one's 
possessions at what he considers a reasonable value 
of them, the extra fertility of the river lands, and 
especially the fact that, in many cases, the owners 
of the swamp lands were originally engaged in the 
cultivation of rice; a product very profitable as an 



6G 

article of commerce and at the same time requiring a 
low, wet soil for its production. In the now historical 
days of slavery in this countrj% these very swamps were 
the embodiments of hell upon earth, and more than one 
poor man and woman, who was compelled to labor in 
them up to their knees in mud and water, if they were 
alive, could b}- their broken constitutions, scarred backs 
and debased intellects, bear witness to the veracity of 
this statement. Kind reader if 3'^our humanity has been 
spared the shock of beholding the poorly' fed bodies of 
these human chattels clad in filthj- rags grubbing in 
these rice swamps, with their wives and little ones beside 
them, while the suckling babe at the quarters moaned 
for its mother that came not to minister its scant}' needs, 
thank God that your lot has been cast in other times and 
a more genial clime. 

Such a district as we have been describing we were 
to traverse, and even while these thoughts have been 
revolving in our mind, we have neared the " Great 
Dismal Swamp." The writer has never consulted any 
authoritative record with reference to the dimensions 
of this swamp, but judging from the statements of the 
inhabitants in that locality, it covers an area of more 
than ten square miles. The waters of this swamp are 
for the greater part covered with a rich green scum, 
suggestive of fevers and agues ; the cypress trees which 
are indigenous to it are curtained and fringed with a 



67 

hfeavy drapery of gray moss, which depends like a heavy 
pall from the limbs that shoot out horizontally from the 
bodies thereof; and no man has yet fathomed all the 
mysteries of its dark and forbidding fastnesses, which 
are said to be the haunts of all that is vile and hurtful 
either of beasts, birds, reptiles, or even humanity, peculiar 
to that part of the South. Within its recesses the wild 
boar and black bear fraternize with each other; the 
moccasin and the poisonous rattlesnake intertwine in 
deadly embrace; while the highway robber and liber- 
tine, secure within its haunts, hold high carnival 
together. It makes one shudder to recall the gloomy 
place to mind and the terrible legends connected with 
it. But to appreciate this feeling, heightened and 
intensified in the bosom until it becomes to be a veritable 
horror, one must pass through this section after night- 
fall : when the light of the moon and stars is veiled by 
the thick fogs and mists that overhang it, and almost 
Egyptian darkness pervades the atmosphere; and the 
lioolings of the night owl and the harsh croakings of 
the multitudinous amphibious creatures are heard, and 
ii certain damp chill possesses the blood, causing one to 
involuntarily draw his cloak more tightly around him, 
and clutch his bridle and revolver, as he anxiously spurs 
forward his excited horse to a less dismal locality^. It 
was in this swamp that the Lowrie brothers, championed 
by the redoubtable Henry Berry Lowrie made their place 



68 

of resort; from whence he issued his commands to the 
inhabitants of the surrounding country, which were 
almost implicitly obeyed, and filled all with consterna- 
tion by reason of his frequent incursions; and it was in 
the interior of this very swamp where he had his den 
established when visited by a representative of the New 
York Herald, in the year 1870, for the purpose of 
obtaining an interview, an achievement never attempted 
nor even thought of by any of the provincial papers in 
" Dixie's Land." 

It appears that during the Southern rebellion various 
and sundry acts of ill-treatment had been visited upon 
different members of the Lowrie family, which extended 
to the murdering of one or more of them by persons 
connected with the Confederate service. To avenge 
these wrongs and compensate their injured feelings, the 
brothers Lowrie took the field, or swamp, where ere long 
they were joined by other kindred spirits in that locality, * 
to the number of a dozen or more. They were thoroughly 
armed, and fully resolved on mischief. After night-fall 
they were in the habit of scouring the neighborhood, 
plundering hen-roosts, burning barns and dwellings, and 
in some instances murdering men. They lugged off 
their booty into the swamp and devoured it, when they 
were ready to engage in other enterprises. One of 
their gang was captured, tried, convicted and hung. 
Dire were the threats thrown out against every man of 



69 

any standing in that community by Lowrie and his 
confreres, conditioned upon the execution of their 
brother robber; loud were their curses; but they availed 
not; he was hung at the appointed time, and the majesty 
of the law vindicated. The chief and his gang became 
finally to be so audacious that at times they would 
actually present themselves at the railroad stations, 
armed cap-a-pie, to the great embarrassment of every 
one. On such occasions they would demand, and gen- 
erally received the latest newspapers, containing in some 
instances full accounts of their diabolical doings; they 
cracked jokes and laughed heartily over them, and then 
departed for parts unknown. So great was the appre- 
hension on the part of the substantial residents in that 
vicinitj'^ that they not only offered a large reward for the 
body of the ringleader, dead or alive, but also procured 
a much larger reward to be offered by the State officials; 
and as a last resort, by command of the Governor, all the 
available troops of the State of North Carolina, num- 
bering several thousands, under capable officers, were 
marched to the margin of the swamp and encamped. 
Here they remained for a lengthy period of time, expe- 
riencing all the incidents, save physical wounds, 
incidental to actual warfare. They stretched a cordon 
of troops for a long distance on the margin of the 
swamp, in the vain endeavor to entrap him; and sent 
out scouts and spies to ferret him out of his hiding 



70 

place. Vain hope! All these efforts were destined to 
prove abortive; and the uniformed militia, after indulg- 
ing their vanity and rubbing up their tactics for as long 
a time as the State would endure the expense, marched 
their troops back again and disbanded them, to be 
leferred to by future historians and placed by the side 
of the illustrious individual of whom the poet sings : 
** The King of the French, with sixty thousand men, 

■ 

Marched up the hill, and then marched down again." 

There is an end to all things terrestrial however, and the 
career of Henry Berry Lowrie was no exception to the 
rule. He was finally surprised and shot while seeking 
shelter and medical care in the house of a relative, and 
thus ended the career of a man who in a just cause could 
have earned undying honors, but by the force of 
circumstances was led to pursue a course which 
both stamped his nam^ with infamy and brought deso- 
lation and grief into many households. After his death 
the band dispersed and so far as the writer knows ceased 
their organized depredations. 

There is just one other association connected with 
this dismal swamp, which the writer will glance at 
before closing this chapter: We refer to the fact that, 
in the reign of the slave driver and blood hound in the 
sunny South, mau}^ a poor panting fugitive dragged 
his lacerated limbs within its dark recesses, where for 
months, subsisting upon such animal and vegetable food 



71 

as he could gather, with a gnarled root for his pillow, 

and the broad canopy of Heaven spread out over him, 
he found that freedom and respite from his woes which 
the laws of his native land refused him. 

Of these, scores might be mentioned b}'^ name; but 
suffice it to speak of just one, at this place. He was an 
aged man; he said his name was Pompey; we met him 
on a "First Monda}-,*' on the Public Square, in Hudson 

m 

ville, where he had wandered in search of a little assist- 
ance in the evening of his eventful life. 

"Hone3V' he said, "whar did you come from? You 
is from de Norf, ain't you?" 

" Why do you ask me that question, uncle? do I look 
like a Yankee?" 

"Well no, you looks like our people, but den dare is 
somefin bout yer way of talkin dat souns like de Norf" 

"Well, to be truthful with 3'ou, uncle, I was born in 
the South, but raised in the North." 

"Jest as I spected. Den you don't know nuffin bout 
de hard trials of de cullud people in dis part of de 
country, does yer?" 

" Well no, uncle, except what I have read, and heard 
from the lips of the old folks. I suppose you know a 
good deal about them." 

" Well, does you see dat scar ober dat eye? Dat was 
made by a rawhide in de bans ob de oberseer ; an dat 



72 

mark on my neck dar was made by one of Mars George's 
houns ; dey had me buried in de groun up to mj' arms, 
and de dog he got loose an bit me, an ef dey hadn't 
took him offen me as soon as dey did, he would er killed 
me. But that's nothin ; ef you cud see my back, honey, 
yer wouldn't ask me any more ef I no ennything bout 
ole slave days. Once I run away, an lived in de big 
swamp fer more'n three months. I staid in dat swamp 
tell I didn't have nuff close hardly to cover a skeeter, 
(an de skeeters was mighty big down dar) an 1 guess I 
would er died thar el Mars George hadn't sent one ob 
de hans an promised me dat ef I wud come back, de 
oberseer shouldn't whip me enny more; an he kep his 
word an I neber got anodder whippin after dat. An to 
tell you de troof, chile, I was glad nuff to git out ob dat 
swamp an git some more close on agin, fer it was almos' 
as bad as deth to live in dar wid de snakes an varmints. 
At fust it made me sick, but arter I hed lived in dar 
about a monf, I wus as hard as a litewood not, an nuflSn 
cud hurt me." 

Poor old man; he was scarred, and crippled, and 
bent with age, but he had lived to see the dawn of glo- 
rious liberty, and like a good old christian that he was, 
he thanked God and took courage. 

But where are we now? We have left the Dismal 
Swamp far behind, we have passed the thirty- five mile 
post, and already Brown, who has from the beginning 



73 

of the journey taken the lead, has driven up to the gate 
in front of a rude log house and lowered the bars. It is 
the house of an acquaintance, we suppose, where we are 
to seek repose during the remainder of the night; and 
we are all rejoiced, for we are weary with the excite- 
ment and turmoil of the day, and sadly in need of rest. 



0-.^-** 
^t^ 



TTT 



CHAPTER VI. 



The Bell Homestead. — Accommodations for the Night. — The 
Black Cat. — My Wife Alarmed. — An Unfortunate Throw, and 
Alarm of the Family. — Mine Host Jones, and the Writer Adjourn 
to the Yard. — Snake Stories. — Snakes in the House ; in the Bed ; 
in the Mill. — Snake Bites and Whiskey Treatment. — " Coachwhip 
Snake." — Snakes for Food. — Medicine and Music. — Reminiscences 
of the Slaveholding Era, by Jones. — ^The Men and Women who 
Cleared and Cultivated these Lands. — The Whip. — The Auction 
Block. — The Stocks. — Insufficient Food. — Dawn of Day. 



The Bell homestead was a typical one in that portion of 
the South, and presuming that a majority of our readers 
have never visited that interesting section, we shall es- 
say a description of it. The lot of land on which the 
house was built was enclosed by a fence made of slats, 
which were wattled instead of being nailed on. The 
house was constructed of logs; the crevices or chinks 
between which were filled with clay, by which means the 
inclement elements were kept out. The chimney to this 
house was constructed of short poles so piled as to lap 
each other at the corners, until they reached a sufficient 
height: the whole was then plastered over with clay 
both within and without. Instead of sash containing 
panes of glass, the windows, which were merely square 
apertures, were provided with " shutters," hung with strap 



75 

hinges and having hooks and staples for fastenings; the 
roof was covered with slats similar to those of which the 
fence was constructed and the whole presented a very 
unique appearance; carrying the mind back to the 
advent of the early settlers in this country. On the 
outside of this house, between each window and the door 
in the center, was hung a stretched coon skin in course 
of bring "cured" for the market. The interior of this 
primitive house was scarcely less romantic in appearance. 
The fire place was capacious, sufficiently so to allow of 
a whole log of wood being put on the large iron andirons 
at one time, while the sooty trammels suspended in the 
center, seemed to await the advent of the big pot in the 
corner, containing its accustomed supply of fat meat, 
coUards and dumplings for the dail}' dinner. In one 
corner of the house was a large blue chest, the counter- 
part, I imagine, of the one that tradition tells us a fair 
damsel in that locality, **upon a time," hid her greatly 
embarrassed beau in, upon the sudden coming of her 
austere sire. This chest served a triple purpose; it 
contained all the spare bed clothing and wearing ap- 
parrel of the family, furnished seating for at least three 
persons during the day, and answered the purpose of a 
bedstead upon which one of the younger members of 
the family was accustomed to sleep at night. 

There was only one bedstead in the house, and this 
was very considerately placed at the disposal of Mrs. 



76 

BrowD, who had the care of an infant not exceeding 
three months in age. Brown himself had left the 
remainder of the company-, in quest of recreation as well 
as to try to " see a man " in that neighborhood who had 
a brother in New York that had been to him a boon 
companion during his sojurn there, prior to locating in 
Hudsonville. Mr. and Mrs. Jones and m}' own dear 
better half were given pallets on the floor, upon which to 
fight mosquitoes and seek repose, and, the night being 
warm and sultry, the absence of ordinary bed clothing 
was not regretted. Under the influence (Tf the fatigue 
that was oppressing the writer, not man}" moments 
elapsed before he was within the kindl}' embrace of 
Morpheus, enjoying the sweets of nature's balmy 
restorer; in other words, asleep. I had not slept more 
than thirt}' seconds, as it seemed to me, though in 
reality about two hours, when I was awakened from m}' 
slumber and again confronted with the realities of this 
practical life by hearing my wife exclaim *' scat!" I 
sprang to my feet and demanded of her the cause of her 
alarm, when, gasping, she whispered: "See that cat 
over there! See how his eyeballs flash!" 

" Where?" I asked, rubbing my eyes. 

*' Over there; don't you see him?" 

''What is it, my dear?" I said. "I don't see any- 
thing; it's too dark to see." 

** Well, I guess you can see that cat's big eyes 



77 

flashing over ia the direction of your left hand, can't 
you? 3'^ou old sleepy -head, you," she fairly shouted. 
*' Anything could carry Johnnie away for aught that 
you care for him. You have been sleeping here just 
like a log, while I have been trying to keep that miser- 
able old cat from sucking his breath or eating his nose 
off.'' 

** There, there, my love," I said; "don't fret now, and 
just sec how I shall punish that feline. I will let him 
know that there be powers upon earth competent to 
pursue, overtake and punish evildoers; and if he don't 
spot me as his Nemesis from this night onward then I 
ain't worth a cent for a throw." So saying, I sum- 
moned all the powers within me, and hurled one of my 
boots in the direction of the "flashing eyes." Jones 
sprang to his feet and, at the top of his voice, inquired 
whether the lightning had struck any one else. The 
whole family was now thoroughly aroused; a tallow dip 
was lit; an explanation followed, and it was definitely 
ascertained that the injury sustained by Jones was not 
of a serious nature. 

After this occurrence, the most earnest persuasion 
failed to induce our injured companion to lie down upon 
his pallet again ; and as the night was alread}' far spent, 
it was unanimously concluded by the three that we 
should adjourn to the bench under the tree in the front 
yard, where we could improve the balance of the night 



78 

while the women and children were sleeping. Once 
there, I asked Mr. fiell why he kept such a big cat 
around the house, inasmuch as her practices were of a 
character most dangerous to little children, of which he 
had several. " Oh," said Mr. Bell, " I don't know what's 
the matter with that cat to-night. He never did act so 
before, and we've raised 'im from a little kitten. He 
never dreamed of troubling any of my children. 
Mebbe it's because your baby is a strange one. Have 
yer got any 'backer, stranger?" he said, digressing, as 
he turned to Jones. He was answered in the affirmative. 
"I wish yer would gimme a chaw; mine's in the house, 
an I don't like to worry the wimmin enny more tonight. 
Another thing," he continued, "that cat's one of the 
best mousers in the world ; and as fer ketchin' snakes 
and lizards, he can't be beat. Why, partner, he handles 
a snake jest like ennj' dog, ef yer can call it handlin' 
when a critter ain't got enny hands; an I wish yer could 
jest see him once. Last fall, jest afore cold weather, my 
little Tommy, the red headed one tliat Brown took sich 
a shine to this evenin', was playin' behint the shed door, 
an' the ole ooman went ter see what mischief he was in, 
cause he kep so still, (an' that's a shore sign of mischief 
among children) when lo an' behold, rite in a box that 
sot behint the door, quiled up thar lay a snake! an' the 
young un he stood thar. with a stick in his little han\ 
jest in the act of strikin' uv it. The ole ooman didn't 



79 

say a single word; she jest took the chile by his han' 
an' led him away, then she got ' Old Sam/ that's the cat. 
an' put him on that varmint; an' pardner you kin believe 
what I tell you or not, jest as you please, but its the 
Lord's truth howsumever, the cat took that snake by the 
back of the head with his mouth an' give it one jerk, 
an' made it crack like a whip; he jerked every bone in 
its body loose; an' when he put it down it had no more 
life in it than a wooden snake." 

Great surprise was expressed, by us at the wonder- 
ful familiarity of the snake, in entering the house so 
unceremoniously. *' Pshaw," said Bell, "that's not a 
sarcumstance ! Why last summer, in August, I think, 
Jim Cross, who lives on Uncle Sandy Glover's planta- 
tion, woke up one mornin' feelin' somethin' crawlin' over 
him; he did'nt tech it; he jest raised up his head a 
leetle bit and seed it was a rattle snake about four feet 
long; then he lay down agin an let it pass over him. 
Cause yer see, he was afeerd that ef he tried to git awa}-, 
the snake would take the hint and bite him — see?" We 
answered that we did see very plainly indeed. 

**iWell my friend," I said, *' snakes must be no 
strangers to you people around here, at that rate." 

"No siree," said Mr. Bell, "they aint; an what's 
more'n that, we uses them: in some cases, we makes 
them am ther livin." 



80 

"Earn their living! why what do you mean, m}^ 
friend? " I said. 

** I mean what I say," he replied, " Ole Mr. Jenkins, 
over thar that runs the grist mill, has got two white 
moccasins, that he has trained to ketch rats an mice, an 
you can't find a rat or a mou&e about his mill fer money ; 
but afore he got them snaix, he could' nt git rid uv sich 
critters. Them snaix goes into every hole and crack 
about the mill, whar dogs an' cats can't go; an' wharever 
they go, the varmints leave." 

" How is it," we inquired, " that some of you don't 
get bit, seeing that snakes are crawling around so 
promiscuously?" 

" Lawful sakes, man, we does. It ain't been a month 
sence a ooman was bit near the big swamp by a rattle- 
snake, an' she turned as black as that .cat they sa}^ (I 
didn't see her) ; an' all that the doctors could do for her 
didn't save her; she died." 

" Do the bites of snakes always prove so fatal?" we 
asked. 

"Well, no; not ef yer begins in time. Thar was a 
boy bit around here a year or two ago by a rattlesnake, 
an' he didn't die. His mother follered the docter's 
directions to a T, an' he got over it. The docter told 
her not ter give him enny water for nine days — nothin' 
but tea; an' she didn't. Some mothers I know would ef 
give'n it to him, fer the boy cried an' begged for water 



81 

untel it almost broke the poor mother's heart, but nary 
a drop did she give 'im. Bimeby the boy got well; an' 
he's runnin' around now as lively as ennybod}'. 
But there's other ways uv treatin' uv 'em. Some docters 
foller the whiskey treatment; that is ter say they giv' 
'em nothin' but whiske}'; keep 'em filled up with it tell 
the danger is over; an' they say it's the shorest an' 
easiest way uv doctorin' for snake bites uv 'em all. A 
feller by the name uvBill Bedford got bit over at Kane's 
Mill-pond last spring. He had some whiskey in his 
pocket in a bottle, an' without waitin' fer docter or enn}- 
body else he up an' drunk the hull uv it. Then he went 
home an' sent fer the docter, an' the docter give him 
more an kep' him under the influence uv it fer more'n 
nine days, an' he got well." 

During the narration of the last incident, Brown had 
come upon the scene, and stood apparently deeply 
absorbed in thought while the mysteries of the whiskey 
treatment were being unfolded by our host. At its con- 
clusion he desired to know whether that school of 
medicine was still in vogue there, and, on being answered 
in the afhrmative, exclaimed, " Well, then, fetch along 
your snakes, gentlemen ! " 

" Where on earth have you been. Brown ! " exclaimed 
Jones. " Here the children has been crying, and cousin 
John has tried to knock my brains out throwing at the 
cat, and nowhere could you be found." 

TT 



82 

" Oh,'' said Brown, " I went down the road a little 
piece to see a man, and met some of the boys, and we have 
been having a good time talking over old times, and I 
was I telling them about New York." 

" New Y6rk ! " said Jones. " Yes, when you come to 
die your last words will be *New York;' and I'll be 
blessed if I don't have it engraved on your tombstone. 
You had better have been here looking after your wife 
and child." 

Brown suggested that Jones would not live to see his 
journey's end unless he kept out of the way of my boots, 
judging from the big knot on his forehead. This remark 
brought forth a laugh at Jones' expense, in which all 
four participated. 

"Well," continued Bell; "let me finish my snake 
stories; you interrupted me. I have known people here- 
abouts ter use rattlesnake grease fer rheumatism an' 
toothache, or nooralgy, as they call it They ketch the 
snake, cut of! his he'd an' stew out the fat. It's then 
bottled up an' ready fer use in time of need." 

"Impossible!" I said. 

"It's the Lord's truth, pardner; an', what's more, 
they do say (now mind, I hain't dun it meself,) that 
ther meat is good ter eat, purvidin' yer kin git it afore 
the pizen leaves the he'd and gits in the tail uv the 
snake." (We all laughed.) " An'," continued he, "the 



83 

fiddlers 'bout here couldn't git along without rattlesnake 
rattles fer ther fiddles/' 

" Is that so? " I said. 

" But," he continued, taking no notice of the inter- 
ruption, "the snake they call the coach whip is the 
rascal of a snake. Thej- ketch yer an' whip yer ontel 
yer is almost ded. Once I was goin' thro' the Peters' 
woods, an' I heerd sich a hoUerin', an' a hollerin', I 
didn't know what ter think uv it; so I ups and hollers, 
too. Then I listens, an' I heers somebody sa}-, * O, Lo'd, 
de snake is killin' me!' I grabs a stick an' I runs in 
the direction uv the noise, an' shore enuf thar was one 
uv Mr. Peters' bans — a big, strappin' feller — standin' 
iioldin' to a tree, an' the coach-whip he had got his 
collar in his mouth an' was wallopin' the life out uv him 
with his tail." 

" Call him off!" exclaimed Brown; " m}' head swims." 

"Buddy," said Jones, "can't you just stop a minute 
'till I get ray breath." 

The writer said, " Let's change the subject," and 
that was the last we heard of snakes on that eventful 
night. 

"Who did 3'ou buy this place of, Bell?" asked 
Jones. 

" I bought it uv ole Huckleby." 

" Is that so? I guess he's gone to get his just desserts 
at last." 



84 

"Yes," said Bell, "he died last January; an' thar 
was'nt enny uv his old slaves at his funeral; in fac', 
nobody seemed to have a good word to say for him." 

"Indeed!" said Brown, "that reminds me of an old 
fellow wlio died in New York, when I was there; and 
when he was buried, no one of all who stood around his 
grave had a good word to say for him, because he had 
lived such a miserly life; finally, as the clods began 
to fall upon his box, and make a hollow sound, one Mr. 
Schneider who stood by, sighed deeply and exclaimed — 
" veil, he vofts a yoot schviioher any vay ! " 

" Oh, Brown, do go along!" exclaimed cousin Henry, 
"you are always putting in a lot of nonsense. I believe 
it yoii were at the funeral of your best friend you would 
crack a joke at his expense, even if it killed you.'* 

"Colonel Hucklcby," said Jones, "was one of the 
most cruel slave-owners I ever knew, and I have known 
some pretty hard cases in m}' time. It was a common 
saying all through this country that you could tell one 
of Huckleby's slaves at sight, from his scared appear- 
ance and disheartened look. He was the only man in 
this part of the South that branded his slaves with a 
hot iron, to mark them. He had a slave by the name of 
Mose, whom he had bought of a speculator. Well, 
Mose had been raised by a different kind of man from 
what old Huckieb}^ was, and when he began to whip 
him and brand him, Mose took to the swamp and stayed 



85 

there until he had to come out to keep from starving, 
when the hounds tracked him and he was captured. 
Then Huckleby took him and whipped him until he 
fainted, when he washed the wounds with brine and 
locked him up until he was able to work agjain. Then 
he took him to the blacksmith shop at the quarters and 
had an iron hoop riveted around him, with an upright 
piece that reached about ten inches above his head, to 
which he fastened a bell, so that if Mose ran away 
again he could track him by the sound of the bell, just 
as we do cows." 

"Was he successful?" we asked. 
"No indeed! for Mose ran away again the first chance 
he got, and when he came to the first mud hole he plunged 
the bell into it and got it so full it wouldn't ring 
any more, and old Huckleb}' never did find him again 
until after the Emancipation Proclamation, when he did 
n't dare to touch him. Wh}', cousin," continued Jones, 
"the very men, women and children who cultivated 
these lands for him, were not properly fed ! I know it 
was hard for the poor slaves to be bought and sold at 
auction, and separated from their parents and children 
and husbands and wives, and it was awfull}'^ cruel to 
whip them so, but do you know, cousin, I always con- 
sidered it a greater hardship for them to be overworked 
and poorh' fed, than either of the others," 
"Indeed!" I said. 



86 

*' Yes," he continued, " and the extent to which old 
Huckleby carried that species of ill treatment, was a 
shame and disgrace to humanity. He had an old man 
on his rice plantation by the name of * Billy. ' Billy was 
an older man than Huckleby himself; he was the first 
slavo he ever owned and he had had him for nearly fifty 
years. He placed so much confidence in him that he 
would trust him with anything in the world. It hap- 
pened that, when hog killing time came on, Huckleby 
took Billy out of the rice swamp to dress and pack the 
pork ; there was a great deal of it, and the longer Billy 
worked among the meat the more he coveted a little of 
it to eat; but not one mouthful did he get. His fare 
was the ordinary fare of the rice hands on that planta- 
tion; a double handful of rice each day, and a pint of 
molases each week. Final 1}'^ one evening, just before 
going to his quarters, Billy concealed a small piece of 
pork within the bosom of his coarse shirt. Old Huckle- 
by. who was at a convenient place, observed the move- 
ment; but said nothing until Billj^ started for his rude 
hut at the quarters, when he approached him, and in a 
sneering way said — 'Now Billy take that piece out of 
your bosom and come into the barn, and 1 will give you 
all 3'ou want.' The result was that poor Old Billy, his 
faithful trusted slave for nearly fifty 3'^ears, who had 
worn out his whole life in his service, assisting in mak- 
ing him a wealthy man, was tied across a barrel and 



87 

whipped until life was almost extinct and then released 
to drag out the remainder of his days, a hopeless cripple. 

**The foregoing is only one case, cousin, of many 
others that might be mentioned where not only Old 
Huckleby, but many others, requited the labors of their 
poor slaves in a similar wa}'. Nor is this all. They 
would put them in the stocks and keep them there until 
they would actually faint; and bury them in the earth, 
only leaving their heads out, for the most trivial causes. 
And, as for the free colored men, well, FH have to take 
another time for that, for the day is beginning to dawn, 
and we must feed the horses and wake the people, as we 
have got a long distance travel to-day and no time to 
lose." So saying, Jones led the way and we followed. 
The old yellow dog snarled at us and showed his teeth, 
but a kick from his positive master sent him howling to 
his kennel, from which he did not come again during 
our stay. 

Our wives and little ones were awakened from their 
tranquil sleep; the horses were given some provender; 
the breakfast was spread, which was composed of the 
remnants of the meal on the previous day, and then we 
mounted again, and amidst many kindly expressions 
for our future weltare on the part of our host and his 
kind lady, we once more resumed our journey. 



CHAPTER VII. 



Incidents of the Route. — Post Boxes. — Mineral Springs. — 
Floral College. — The Duello. — Reminiscences of School Life in 
the South Before the War. — An Oasis. — A Foraging Expedition. 
— Diflference between Southern and Northern Hospitality. — Win- 
ning our Fodder by a Stratagem. — Our Repast and Departure. 



The refreshment afforded to the weaker portion of 
our families had produced its desired eff*ect, and once 
again the little ones appeared in all that mirthfulness 
and vivacity which is wont to characterize and mark 
the contrast between them and "children of an older 
growth ;" and when we say that it made the heart leap 
but to witness their joy, I only re-echo the sentiment 
of every one of our party on that occcasion. The 
female portion of our little party also wore a more 
cheerful look upon their countenances than they had 
during the last half of the day previous, and in truth it 
was not to be wondered at, for the very presence of the 
great swamp, along the margin of which the greater 
part of our road lay during that time, was sufficient to 
chill the blood within us and repress every sentiment of 
joy and mirth. But we had now arrived at a portion of 
the journey where our route la}'^ through a more hospit- 
able region ; where waters gave place to white sands ; 



89 

where dismal cypress trees, with funereal cast, gave 
place to the healthful pine, with here and there a dog- 
wood tree, in full bloom, and clambering honeysuckle; 
where the rich green scum of the swamp was supplanted 
by nourishing vegetation, and the carolings of mocking 
birds banished from the mind the hootings of owls and 
harsh croakings of amphibious creatures. It was, in 
truth, a most pleasing contrast, well calculated to lead 
one up out of the deep darkness and desolation of 
despair to the light of God's countenance, and beget 
reflections on the universal fitness of all things, and 
their adaptation to the uses for which He hath created 
them. But in the midst of all these natural beauties the 
universal absence of artificial attractions was onl}- made 
more apparent. For miles and miles one could travel 
without encountering any work of art bearing upon it 
the stamp of man's genuis. There was to be seen not 
even the ruins of what had once been a human habita- 
tion of pretentious dimensions or design ; and when we 
recalled the fact that we were then traversing a state 
upon which the foot of the white man trod many long 
years before a foothold was gained in some of our middle 
and western states, that are now crowded with hives of 
industry and even vieing with the old world in the 
extent and richness of their architectural monuments, 
we could not forbear contrasting the difference between 
the results of labor free, untrammeled by ignorance 

T2 



90 

and caste prejudice, and labor despised and enslaved. 
The one leaves the mind free and filled with lofty am- 
bitions; while the other, seeing nothing in the present 
or future upon which it can build its hopes, grovels, 
rebels and saps the very foundations of society. Every 
thing we see carries the mind back to the most ancient 
of times, when the force of steam and electricity was 
neither known nor appreciated. 

"Cousin Henry," 1 said, addressing Jones; "what 
are those little pigeon-hole boxes placed upon the tops of 
those posts for. I have noticed several of them at 
intervals of three or four miles since we left the 
swamp." 

" Why, cousin," he replied, " those are post boxes." 

" What? " 

"Post boxes, in which the mail along this road is 
deposited. Whenever any person has a letter or news- 
paper (if he be so fortunate as to get one) that he wishes 
to send off by the mail, if he does not feel disposed to 
travel twenty or thirty miles to the nearest postoffice, he 
deposits it one of these boxes, from which the mail-boy 
takes it when he comes along, if it is not stolen out 
beforehand." 

" Well ! " exclaimed Brown ; " that beats my time ! 
I have seen in New York letter-boxes fastened to lamp- 
posts on almost every corner for the accommodation of 
such as did not wish to go to the postoffice. They were 



91 

strong iron boxes, with patent lock and key; but these 
little wooden boxes, open at one end, and nailed to the 
tops of posts away out here in the woods, are ridiculous 
in the extreme." 

I am not sure but that Brown was more than half 
right, once in his life; for these boxes were just such as 
Rollin, who quotes from the early writers, tells us King 
Cyrus established in Persia at least six hundred years 
before the Christian era. 

Among the objects of natural interest also to be seen 
in various parts of the country through which we were 
now passing were refreshing little mineral springs. We 
were no chemists, and, even had we been^ we had no 
appliances b}' means of which a satisfactory analysis 
could have been effected, therefore we are denied the 
pleasure of laying before our readers either a quantita- 
tive or qualitative analysis of the constituent elements 
of the waters flowing from them; but Brown, who was 
the first to approach and drink from them, pronounced 
them sulphur springs, from the similarit}- of the well- 
defined odor escaping from them to that which always 
accompanies boiled eggs. 

Yankee capital and enterprise may some day in the 
not distant future convert this wilderness into a blush- 
ing garden, and utilize the medicinal virtues of these 
flowing mineral fountains for the healing of diseases of 
various kinds to which human flesh is heir; but for the 



92 

present, at least, like tlie wild flowers that cluster near 
their margins, they must "waste their sweetness (?) on 
the desert air." 

"But see, cousin Henry I what are tliose deserted 
buildinsfs in advance of us that stand in the midst of 
that spacious grove ? The}' are the first visible 
evidences of civilization we have met since leaving the 
Bell residence, where we rested during the last night/' 

*' That, cousin," he answered, "is Floral College/' 

*' Floral College!" I repeated after him; "a pretty 
name indeed, and most appropriate too, when we con- 
sider the surroundings. When was it established? 
Where are the professors, the students and other acces- 
sories of the college? " I asked, in rapid succession'. 

" You ask me so many questions," he replied, ** that 
I hardl}^ know where or how to begin to answer them; 
but I shall do the best I can. As to the time when it was 
established, 1 am not well informed, and I can only say, 
it was before your time and mine, during the most flour- 
ishing period of American slaver}' ; when the young 
gentlemen of the South had little else to do than attend 
school, practice the code of honor, study the manual of 
arms and assist in keeping their parents' human chattels 
in subjection. Those were the times when 'Mars George' 
or * Mars Henry,' was accustomed to while away his 
days in idleness, at the expense of the blood and toil of 
others more worthy than himself, while he was being 



93 

taught to decline mensa^ or conjugate luw^ and con the 
classic pages of Greek and Roman literature Yor examples 
upon which to build a justification of their peculiar insti- 
tution. In that thicket to the right, tradition has it, 
two 3'oung men, becoming needlessh' oflfended at each 
other b}' reason of something that had been said or done, 
fought in deadly combat, in imitation of their sires, and 
the result was, that while one was borne to a premature 
grave, the other was doomed to a life of seclusion and 
regret. Thanks to an enlightened and christian senti- 
ment, this barbarous practice is now nearl}' extinct in 
all civilized communities. As for the professors and 
students, they left at the first alarm to tr}'^ their fortunes 
amidst war's stern conflicts. Some of them fell at Bull 
Run, others at Petersburgh and Richmond, while a few 
of the fortunate ones who lived to return to their homes, 
their wealth being swept away, found neither o[)portun- 
ity nor inclination of attending school or prosecuting 
their studies. Those little buildings clustered around 
the larger ones were occupied by families of the profes- 
sors or else bv those wbo either took their residence 

t 

there pending the instruction of their children, or sought 
a livelihood in boarding pupils who were attending the 
college." 

"But wh}','' I asked, "did the}^ locate this institu- 
tion awa}' out here in the woods, so remote from the 
centers of civilization?" 



. 94 

" Oh," he answered, " I suppose that was to aflford 
the young gentlemen the advantages accruing from a 
quiet retreat in which to prosecute their studies, and at 
the same time relieve them of the fatigue and expense 
of a trip to the woods in search of logs from which to 
practice their declamations, in course of preparation for 
commencement day. And then the romantic surround- 
ings undoubtedly did not escape the notice of its foun- 
ders, who were desirous of turning every circumstance 

» 

to the advantage of the future student." 

We had now reached a stage in our journey wliere 
the sand was so deep as to almost impede our further 
progress. The poor horses, which, while answering the 
purposes of ordinary domestic use, were totally unfit for 
a journey of this kind, were greath' distressed; and as 
for the patient brute to whose lot it had fallen to draw 
the buggy ( ?) in which the writer and his family were 
packed, every moment threatened to put an end to his 
demonstrative efforts. Covered with perspiration, with 
outstreched neck and dilated nostrils he tugged away 
with most persistent energy, wliile the remaining stump 
of what had formerly been a tail stood out on a level with 
his back bone. Desirous of consummating our jonrne}' 
before the close of the da}', and fearing the worst, the 
male portion of our party were willing to make great 
sacrifices, and suffer somewhat in the cause of humanity; 
we therefore considerately alighted from our perches and 



95 

essayed feats of pedestrianism scarcely equaled in the 
sawdust arena, even in this day of wonderful pedestrian 
achievements. For the reader must constantly bear in 
mind the fact that we were traveling in loose sands 
which were almost ankle deep and our grade was upward ; 
to say nothing of the sun, which at almost meridian 
height, raised the temperature to about one hundred de- 
grees Fahrenheit, in the shade. But the toil and monot 
ony of the route even under these conditions were greatl}- 
modified by the merr}^ prattle of the little ones, together 
with the jokes and puns indulged in at the expense of 
each other. 

It was along here, too, that we encountered the first 
snake of the season — a small, striped fellow, glittering 
in his recent coat, as he lay and enjoyed the life-impart- 
ing rays of the vernal sun. One blow on the head from 
a club in the hand of the vivacious Brown was sufficient 
to end his earthly career; but, for the novelty and ex- 
citement of the experience, all three of us felt called 
upon to assist in the execution, while the ladies turned 
pale from fear and the children laughed and cried by 
turn. And so we "devoured space," not a murmur 
escaping our lips, until we conquered the sands and 
high grade, and were relegated to what might have been 
termed an oasis, just beyond the desert, instead of in it — 
a gentle declivity, laved- at its base by a babbling brook, 
whose sparkling waters were to our parched throats as 



96 

pleasing as any nectar, distilled by fabled gods, and 
whose mossy banks no lover yet pressed \ivithout sub- 
mitting to the spell of Cupid's magic charm. 

Here we dismounted and unhitched;, the horses were 
released from their galling gearings and thoroughl}' 
groomed ; and while they were chewing their provender, 
thechildren, now permitted to run at random, disported 
themselves in their innocent ways upon the shaded 
slope. Some en\barrassment was occasioned here on our 
part in securing an additional supply of fodder. Ha}' 
or oats were out of the question altogether; and since 
the weather was hot, as stated above, corn, the onl}' 
means of subsistence now at our command for feeding 
purposes, was too heating in its nature, and endangered 
the health of the stock. Our only recourse then was to 
go on a foraging expedition, with the hope of securing a 
little fodder b}' mone}'- or persuasion. I speak in that 
doubtful strain because it was a matter of no little 
difficulty to secure fodder in that isolated vicinity; and 
the thrice blessed traveler in the eastern or middle 
states, who has only to halt at the first cross-roads and 
pay his money and take his choice of all the luxuries 
known to modern art and skill, little appreciates the 
almost heart-rending entreaties it often requires on the 
part of the exhausted traveler to draw forth from the 
average Southern rustic the coveted boon. And should 
the petitioner be a colored man, he considers himself 



97 

only too fortunate to be let alone to pursue his journey 
in peace, to say nothing ot being granted any little acts 
of kindness by the way. 

The magnanimity and hospitality of the South has 
been lauded to the skies, aye, even sung by inspired 
poets in the past, while the great souled North has been 
charged with inhospitality and selfishness, but *' truth is 
great and will prevail," and " though crushed to earth," 
this year, it will rise again next year and vindicate itself. 
We grant that, during the period of the South's history 
when she gloated over her possessions of lands and 
slaves, and proclaimed cotton king of commerce, there 
was more than a semblance of truth in her boast that 
she was the friend and exemplar of hospitality; for it 
often happened that strangers visiting that section, who 
would wink at her inconsistencies and attempt to palliate 
them with sophistical arguments, were caught up, passed 
around, and entertained in a princely manner, for long 
periods of time; and when they departed their praises 
were loud and multiplied concerning the hospitable 
South; but has the reader ever considered that the 
South could well afford to be generous at that particular 
period? because, while they and their guests were junket- 
ing around the neighborhood, living upon the "fat of 
the land," the real bone and sinews of the land were 
even then delving on the cotton plantation or wading in 
the rice swamp, without renumeration, to sustain such 

TS 



98 

prodigality. With the North the case was altogether 
different. The people of the North knew where their 
means came from ; they worked for their living, and by 
the sweat of their brow obtained their daily bread. 
With less than eight months of pleasant weather during 
the course of a whole year, they were compelled to uti- 
lize every moment of time: nor did the frosts, snows and 
bleak winds of winter deter them from their labors; but, 
pressing forward with daring hardihood, they turned 
what to a less thrifty and hardy race would have seemed 
a misfortune, into advantage, and plucked success from 
seeming adversity. Hence, while they were not nig- 
gardly in their dealings, they laid no claim to the 
reputation of being a race of spendthrifts. If rumor 
may be relied on, the South does not now sustain the 
same reputation in this respect that she did in ante 
helium days, and the reasons are too obvious to be 
mentioned. 

However, returning to our foraging expedition, we 
finally succeeded in discovering a man who had a little 
fodder. Knowing full well the obstacles in the way of 
our success in obtaining a few bundles of it, we ap- 
proached the subject very cautiously and with much 
prudence. A general in the army, in approaching the 
outworks of the enemj', could not be more cautious in 
his tactics than was Jones in this instance; for, relying 



99 

upon his great experience and suavity of manners, we 
had shoved him to the front as our spokesman. 

Walking up to the bars, we saw a lean, lank specimen 
of the native Southerner in the yard, drawing a bucket 
of water from a deep, deep well, such as are common in 
that high countr}'. 

'* Howdv ! " said Jones. 

" Howdy do," answered the man of the fodder. We 
knew he had it, because we had espied some of it in the 
rear of the barn. 

"Budd}', that's an awfully fine horse you've got 
there," said Jones. 

** Well, yaas it is." 

** Guess she's a fast un, ain't she?" 

*• Well, sorter, I reckon. She runs in two minnits." 

" Golly, that's fast! " said Jones. "We've got some 
poor creeters over there in the grove that are almost 
worn out. Come forty-five miles since yesterday, and 
ain't got a mouthful of fodder for them." 

" Do tell ! whar are yer gwine? " 

"Well, we are going up home to see the old folks. 
We haven't seen them for many a day, and it will do 
their poor old hearts so much good to see us once more 
before they die." Here Jones' voice became tremulous 
with emotion, and a tear was visible in one eye. 

" Ole boss," broke in Brown ; " do you ever tetch any 
of the old bug-juice? " 



100 

" Well, I reckon I do, partner," said the man of the 
fodder. " Is j^er got ennj?" 

" I never goes without it, / don't," said Brown. 
Here he produced a little flask partl}^ filled with corn 
whiske}', obtained on the road, which looked for the 
world like clear water. 

The health of the fodder man and his family was 
drank, amidst much hilarity, and then Jones suggested: 
" Buddy, I spose 3^ou couldn't let us have about a dozen 
bundles of your fodder for our creeters, could you?" 

" Well, I would jest as live give you my horse almost 
as to give j'^ou her fodder; but, seein' that you uns are a 
purt}' nice set ef fellers, ef 3'ou can get along with half a 
dozen bundles I guess I kin let you have that much." 

"Thankee, buddy, thankee ! " said Jones, assuming 
the manner and speech of the locality as much as possi- 
ble; " ril do as much for you some time, when you come 
along my way." 

"Whar might be 3'our home?" queried our bene- 
factor." 

" Hudsonville, South Carolina," we all answered at 
once. 

*' Oh, I have been thar; it's a purty nice little place, 
too, but awful dry." 

''Yes," answered Brown; "nothin' but brandy 
peaches and cherries, and they are fifty and seventy-five 
cents a bottle. But we often send across the river to 



101 

Goochville and buy a gallon or so, which lasts us for 
quite a little while." 

During the latter part of the conversation we had 
reached the stack and secured our coveted prize, and 
when Brown finished his last observation we politel}' bid 
our new formed acquaintance "good-b3'e," and went in 
search of our respective families. 

A little blaze, kindled beneath a broad-spreading 
tree, was crackling under the coffee-pot, and the lunch 
was spread. The collards by this time were slightly 
soured ; the coffee had neither cream, milk nor sugar in 
it to make it palatable; but, for all these seeming dis- 
advantages, not a murmur was heard, because we knew 
that the darkest hour is just before the break of day, 
and the nearer we approached the goal of our ambition 
the less we regarded the slight inconveniences of the 
journey. Once at our destination, surrounded by kind 
friends and the good things of this life, our present 
afflictions would but heighten the pleasures attending 
them. 

Our dinner disposed of, we were not long in preparing 
to resume our journey. The horses, by means of that 
strange power possessed by them, which we call instinct, 
perceiving that they were gradually nearing the end of 
their journey, quickened their pace, and all was life and 
animation once more. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



"Fannie" on her metal. — First Mishap of the Eoad. — "All's 
Well that End's Well."— The Deserted Cotton Plantation.— Then 
and Now. — Contributing Causes. — "Carpet-Bag" Rule in the 
South. — Both Sides of the Question. — What the Writer saw in 
South Carolina. — How Property-Holders Felt. — Characteristic 
Letter. — Where did the Blame Lie? — Admission of the Writer of 
the Letter. — Land Commission. — Rail Road Bonds. — Private 
Operations. 



Up to this point, nothing had occured to mar the 
pleasure of our trip, if we except the slight mishap, dur- 
ing the night before, of which the writer was the unfor- 
tunate cause; and the ordinary incidents characteristic 
of every journey through a thinly populated territory, 
devoid of the commonest conveniences of every day life. 
But at last we were to have a genuine sensation ; a real 
traged}', we might say, were it not for the melo-drama- 
tic termination of it. Our readers will remember that 
mention was made, in the latter part of the previous 
chapter, of a little brook which laved the base of the 
declivit}' on which we camped. This stream, in the 
course of its tortuous meanderings, crossed our road 
about one mile further down, and by reason thereof a 
bridge was necessitated. This bridge being of an un- 
substantial character, jarred greatly beneath the tramp- 



103 

ling of the horses, and gave forth sounds that were well 
calculated to excite animals of a nervous and fiery dis- 
position. Now, as we have stated before, in another 
portion of this volume, Fannie, cousin Henry's mare, was 
a nervous little thing and just like some human beings, 
was exceedingly anxious to display her agility, appar- 
ently for the entertainment of the remainder of the part}'. 
Nor was our dear cousin ignorant of the fact that she 
required constant watching in order to repress her ebu- 
litions of spirit and keep her within due bounds; for, on 
more occasions than one, during the course of our present 
journe}', she had shied at seeing the meerest trifles, and 
endeavored to break loose from restraint. But despite 
these timely warnings on her part, Jones persisted in 
testing her speed, whenever a suitable opportunity pre- 
sented itself. At such such times he would leave the 
rest of the party far in the rear, until he was checked by 
our shoutings and hallooings, when he would kindly 
condescend to await our arrival, at the same time, in a 
taunting way, reproaching us for the slothfulness of our 
movements. It was not surprising to us then, that when 
we arrived at the summit of the gentle slope leading to 
the bridge referred to, we saw him lash Fannie and tell 
her to " go." Nor did she need a second command, for 
with a snort and a bound, she went It soon became 
evident that Jones had lost control of the animal; for 
had she been borne on the wings of the wind, she would 



106 

innocent prattle of infancy was audible, while Cupid 
plied his art among those who were just blooming into 
man and womanhood ; and when music's soft cadences 
fell upon the ear, then might have been seen the 
chivalric youth leading forth the idol of his ambition to 
try the mysteries of the mazy dance or circle around in 
the dizzy waltz. But now, all is hushed and silent; and 
naught but the bat, the owl, and creeping vines guard 
its portals, while the spider silently weaving his web 
spreads a gloomy pall over all, and conceals in part the 
ravages of time, which slowly but surely carries on the 
work of destruction and saps its foundations. The four 
great sycamore trees in front of the yard sacred to Jove 
— grim sentinels over all — only add to the romance of the 
scene and increase our curiosity. 

" Now cousin Henr}'," I said, " here is the only 
really noteworthy building I have seen during our ride 
of fifty miles; who owns it? " 

" This is the Mumford place," he said. " It is 
deserted now — all run down ; but the time was, cousin, 
when this place was a perfect hive of industry. This 
plantation comprises more than a thousand acres and 
before the war produced more cotton than you could 
shake a stick at. Over there by those woods are what 
are left of the quarters, but in Mumford's time the}- were 
more numerous and the hands were just as thick as 
black birds." 



107 

" But," I asked, " what has become of the owner? 
why aint he here attending to his property? '' 

'* The owner is dead, cousin — got killed in the war, I 
believe, and his heirs have never cultivated the land 
since he died. They wont sell an}^ of it to the freedmen 
for love nor mone}', and the}' offer such small wages to 
hands that they will not work on it; most of them have 
gone off to work on the rail road ; and some of them 
followed the army to the north. Besides that, the land 
has become so completely overrun with weeds that it 
aint worth much now, and it would take a small fortune 
to put it in shape again." 

This remark was too true; and what made it sadder 
still was the additional fact that all through that part of 
the State and the adjoining State of South Carolina were 
to be seen extensive tracts of land of which the one just 
referred to was a fair illustration. Much has been 
written and more spoken regarding the causes that 
have contributed toward the decline and ultimate ruin 
of such valuable property, but nothing so far that the 
writer has seen has fuU}^ met his approval. Some, 
presumabl}'^ biased in behalf of the South, have attrib- 
uted it all to *' carpet bag rule " and " negro domination ;" 
while others, with contrary tendencies, find no difficulty 
in ascribing ever}- evil to the unrepentant South. The 
trouble, I opine, lies between the two, as the writer will 
in the sequel undertake to unfold. 



108 

When the writer first located in the Palmetto State, 
during the year 1870, he found the following condition 
of affairs as near as he remembers. The government of 
the State — legislative, judicial and executive — was in 
the hands of the Republican part}-; which, at that time, . 
cast about eighty-five thousand votes. Of these, about 
sixty thousand were cast by the freedmen, and the 
remainder by white people. The white voters were 
composed partly of those whom adventure and the 
results of the war had thrown into the State, and were 
all known and designated as *' carpet-baggers," but who, 
in fact, furnished at that time three-fourths of the brain 
employed in the whole party; and partly of such of the 
lower and middle classes of the native white population 
as, rejoicing at the opportunity of gaining for themselves 
a political influence such as they had never before even 
aspired to covet, and desiring to avail themselves of the 
opportunity of adding to their wordly possessions, had 
laid aside their prejudices and joined their cause with 
that of the Republican party. 

A majority of the members of both branches of the 
Legislature were persons of African descent. Among 
these were to be found a number who possessed such a 
degree of natural sagacity and intellectual culture as 
would have shown to advantage if placed by the side of 
some of the most brilliant intellects to be found in the 
legislative bodies of our Northern States — men, indeed, 



109 

who had enjoyed the advantages ot some of our older 
institutions of learning, and who had even brought with 
them from European schools ripe experience and scholas- 
tic acquirements. Did prudence permit, the writer 
could mention the names of some of these men, who 
have since become well known to the communitv at larsre 
by reason of their prominence in national politics. 

It is to be regretted, however, that as much could not 
be said of the remainder of them, since the}^ in many 
instances, were not only lacking in respect of such ordi- 
nary and reasonable essentials as common intelligence 
and moral integrity, but lost no opportunity of impress- 
ing this fact upon the minds of the people of the State 
and the country at large. It will surprise no one, 
therefore, when we fetate that the property- holders of the 
State, who were in general ex-rebels of the State, were 
highly disgusted when men, who a few years prior 
(months, in some instances,) had scarcely a lodging 
place, were seen boasting themselves among their former 
associates, clothed in the finest raiment, their wives and 
children wearing rich silks and jewels, and riding in 
carriages and phsetons. A general desire seemed to 
possess every one to become a member of the Legislature, 
from the minister in the pulpit to the plantation hand; 

and in the fall of 1872 there were in county no 

less than twenty-two aspirants to legislative *' honors," 



110 

of whom only two could read and write, notwithstanding 
the fact that were onl}^ two vacancies to be filled. 

To such an extent was the mania for holding office 
permitted to go, and so completely were the ignorant 
masses possessed of a desire to participate in the bene- 
fits accruing therefrom, that in one instance, at least, a 
well formed, healthy farm hand who had been so fortunate, 
or unfortunate, as to be elected to the lower branch of 
tlie Legislature, wept over a subsequent defeat, and, 
by reason of his determination to return to the State 
capital in some capacity, actually accepted the position 
of janitor, and was seen upon the curb cleaning spittoons. 

It fell to the lot of the writer, upon a visit to the 
State capital in the year 1871, to pass a night in the 
dormitory occupied b}' a large number of the members 
of the Legislature. The impressions made on his mind 
by the events of that eventful occasion will never be 
fully obliterated by the lapse of time nor change of 
locality; for, amidst the fumes of strong drink, the 
clouds of smoke, the shuffling of feet and maudlin jesting 
of the " grave and reverend seigniors," sleep was an im- 
possibilit}^ and he contented himself with lieing there, 
a quiet observer of transpiring events, and philosophizing 
as to their probable issue. 

It would be manifestly unjust however and foreign to 
the truth, for any one to ascribe to the ignorance of this 
august body all the moral turpitude which was even 



Ill 

then drawing forth the severest criticisms from some of 
the most ardent advocates of the Southern Reconstruc- 
tion policy: for these poor men were in reality but the 
dupes of their more wily and sophisticated brethren of 
both colors, who used them as mere cat's paws with 
which to pull the nutritious chestnuts out of the fire; 
and who, while these deluded people were easily pur- 
chased with a few hundred dollars, were accumulating 
bank, rail road and mining stocks, as well as pocketing 
a liberal proportion of the bonds of the State of South 
Carolina. Nor did this condition of affairs end at the 
state capital; but becoming contagious, it spread all 
over the state, and found a lodging in every county, 

town and hamlet. In the county of which was a 

model one for that state, the sheriff, (who was a white 
man,) could neither read nor write, and depended al- 
together upon his clerk and memory for the transaction 
of his complicated duties; the school commissioner was 
a man incapable of discharging his duties according to 
the requirements of his position; the probate judge was 
ignorant of the rudiments of law; and some of the 
trial justices were men who dishonored their positions 
in every respect. And yet when the writer during the 
delivery of a public harangue, took occasion to suggest 
the propriety of selecting the more intelligent class of 
republicans for these positions, rather than such as have 
been referred to, he was branded with disfavor b}' all 



112 

who were of that class, (and they comprised the greater 
portion of the inhabitants) was stigmatized as a college 
bred man who was in favor of having only educated 
people hold office, and relegated to the seclusion of his 
grocery and law office. It is no wonder then, that under 
the circumstances, there was a feeling of hatred and 
disgust, deep and bitter, jpervading the breasts of the 
property holding class throughout the State, which was 
destined to ultimately break forth in such deeds of vio- 
lence and bloodshed as have brought dishonor upon the 
fame of the State and stained the reputation of some 
of her leading men. 

The writer has no recollection of having ever seen 
any more direct exposition of the sentiment then 
pervading the latter class of the inhabitants of that 
State than that furnished by a letter now in his posses- 
sion, written and addressed to him, subsequent to his 
return to the State of Ohio, by one of her oldest inhabi- 
tants; a man who for twelve consecutive years repre- 
sented his county in the Legislature; a former slave- 
holder, and at that time the owner of more than one 
thousand acres of arable land. 

For the benefit of such readers as may be desirous 
of obtaining both sides of this important question, 
we will insert the letter entire, subject to such com- 
ments thereon as we may feel constrained to submit 



113 

The following is the letter verbatim. The italics are 

our own : 

HuDSONviLLE, S. C, May 13th, 1873. 
, Esq. 

I have received your letter, bearing date , Ohio, 

and was somewhat surprised to find that you had left the South 
entirely. You lived here long enough to find out that it was no 
place for one politically who had honest aims. The gang of 
thieves who call themselves the State Government, want no spies 
about them, and therefore — was not wanted. If you had 
been a dexterous rogue you might have stolen a good deal, and 
have been highly promoted ; or if you had let the white people 
take you up and fought — — as well as you could with the 
colored people, you might have achieved something valuable for 
yourself as well as for the public interest. I think the whites 
would have stood by you just as long as you had strength to fight 
the robbers, and would have been of great service to you. They 
wanted an advocate from your race ; some one the freedmen would 
believe, and who would tell them boldly what is going on. For 
rottennei^s sits in all the high places, and the white people feel 
that they are made mere fish-bait of, and that they have no civil 
rights under the domination of corn-field darkies, and army sut- 
lers at the head of the State Government. 

Do you think the white people of South Carolina will ever 
tolerate this state of things? Prudence may keep all things quiet 
for a time, but when the dam breaks the rush of water will overwhelm 
everything in its way. We don't intend to submit to the existing 

state of things for the benefit of and such as he. I say 

this to you who belong to another race, but who knows enough of 
a country where he could not live himself without stealing or 
winking at the stealing of others, and who must understand that 



114 

the respectable people who live here, and can't get away to Ohio, 
intend to assert their rights when they can, and throw off the mill- 
stones that are crushing out their very lives. 

You know all about what I am writing, and well understand 
me when I tell you that " time '' only increases the deep indigna- 
tion we all feel at what we have to suffer, and can never make it 
tolerable. We are altogether willing that human rights should 
be acknowledged, and all races and conditions shall have equal 
rights under the law. But you know the white man has no political 
rights here, and that he is at the mercy of mere bummers. All 
the concessions we make only draw our own chains tighter. I do 
not just now see the end of these things, but it must come. When 
such men as Governor Orr and Sawyer are driven from the State 
because they tried to reform the Republican party, and when 

could see no resting-place for his feet here, well may all 

others, more sensitive to the violence done to all their preconceived 
opinions and prejudices j feel restless and disgusted, and look beyond 
the dead line for the possibility of an escape. It seems hard that 
after the white people, who pay all the taxes, have been so 
reduced as to accept with sincerity such terms as shock every fibre 
in their systems, yet still they are denied the privilege of making 
their own laws, and have no rights except what cornfield darkies 
and army sutlers are willing to concede to them, at their own 
expense. Therefore we complain. 

As to money matters, the people are rich, even with their 
heavy taxes. The small planters are richer than they ever were. 
I never saw money so plentiful in South Carolina as last winter 
(1872). With cotton at seventeen and eighteen cents, even the 
freedmen are looking up, and buying largely of everything they 
want. One lives near me who has bought and paid for two tracts 
of land and five horses since the war. If cotton only keeps up 



115 

we are obliged to be full of money. A one-horse farm is good for 
ten bales and provisions. Any one can make it who is willing to 
work, and therefore we make no complaints about money. It is 
the best place to make money in the civilized world. And there 
are thousands of opportunities yet to be seized upon by smart men 
in mechanical and manufacturing employments that would be 
sure to bring rich harvests to those who will seek them. We 
want Northern men to come amongst us. The old prejudices are 
crushed out, and we will hail them as friends if they will come 
amongst and settle down to live by their industry (and vote the 
Democratic ticket, he ought to have added). There is any quan- 
tity of land to rent. I have a field myself of five hundred acres 
which I will rent for two dollars an acre, or will sell for twelve 
dollars an acre the whole tract of nine hundred and fifty acres. 

Yours respectfully, — ^— 

The writer of the foregoing remarkable letter said in 
the presence and hearing of the author and a large con- 
course of citizens of both colors, upon the occasion ot a 
political demonstration, in substance as follows: "We 
have made a mistake in the polic}' adopted and pursued 
by us toward our colored citizens and the republican 
part}^ in general, and I fear it is now too late to repair 
the damage done. We should have fraternized with you, 
and inspired you with confidence in us. Had we adopted 
that plan, we could have gained a place in your affec- 
tions and enjoyed the opportunit}'^ of contributing of our 
superior knowledge and greater experience toward the 
reconstruction and government of our State. But 
instead of this, we have held aloof, and treated you with 



116 

studied scorn ; instead of voting with you and assisting 
in the selection of the best men of our own county and 
State, we have either kept awa}' from the polls altogether 
or else wasted our strength in futile ettorts to elect men 
to office who differed radicallv from von, while stransfeis 
have come in from abroad and usurped the reins of 
government and now oppress us be3'ond endurance." 
How truthfull}' and fitly spoken ! for in those few words 
rested the whole truth of the case. It is true that from 
the force of circumstances some of the largest property 
holders of the State were disfranchised bv law, but this 
class included no very considerable portion of the voting 
l)opulation. and had an}' disposition discovered itself on 
their part to fall in with the new order of things and 
yield obedience to the laws of the land, no difficulty 
would have been experienced in adjusting affairs to 
meet the requirements of their case. There is also 
another view to be taken of this question, namel}': If it 
were true that rottenness was sitting in all the high 
places, it was equally true that many of the *' respectable 
people of the South '■ winked at it and even encouraged 
it. For instance the Land Commission of the State of 
South Carolina was formed b}' law, and had placed at its 
disposal more than half a million dollars, for the avowed 
purpose of purchasing large tracts of land within the 
State, to be parcelled out to such of the ambitious freed- 
men as were able and willing to buy land, but who 



117 

owing to the indisposition on the part of the Southern 
land owners to sell to them, had not the opportunity. 
It was a laudable design, conceived in justice and mag- 
nanimity, but b}' reason of the connivance of these same 
landed grumblers, permitted to become abortive of any 
good results, and disgraceful to the administration. A 
land owner having a piece of worn out or swamp land 
unlit for ordinary agricultural purposes and worth in 
fact not more than from a dollar and fifty cents to three 
dollars per acre, would palm the same off upon the Land 
Commissioners, who were State oflficers, for an exorbitant 
price; just where the whole of the money paid went to I 
cannot say. And it was noticed that b\' some peculiar 
hocus 2^oc us the choicest parcels of this land, especiall}^ 
if there happened to be improvements on them, were apt 
to get into the hands of influential members of the 
legislature. And in almost every instance where private 
corporations were formed bj- legislative enactments, (and 
the volumes containing session laws were full of them) 
for the purpose of carrying on mining or other opera- 
tions within the State, or for the purpose of removing 
rich phosphatic deposits from the beds of rivers, (an 
article verv valuable in the cultivatinor of cotton and 
other products) the name of one or more of these same 
" respectable people of the State," appeared conspicu- 
ous as incorporators. But aside from all this, whatever 
mav be said against the honestv or fitness of individuals 



118 

participating in the State and local governments, it 
must be admitted that they furnished the only element 
in the State from which the United States Government 
could select agents for the transaction of her behests. 
Say of the colored people of the South that the}- were in 
some instances ignorant; that in connection with their 
white brethren and with the connivance of the propeii;}^ 
holding clement there, they sometimes abused their 
respective trusts; say all this and more if possible, it 
must still be admitted bj' everyone who knows them that 
the}' were then as now, loj'al to the core and would 
rather die of starvation and the lash in the hands of their 
white oppressors than cast a ballot for the Democratic 
party or betray their countr}^ into the hands of traitors. 
There has not been a time since the surrender of Lee at 
Appomattox, when it was not in the power of the Con- 
federate element of the South to assist in governing 
themselves, had thc}'^ felt disposed to accept the proflfered 
concessions of the Central Government; but the}'' would 
not. And as for the "carpet baggers," so called, I 
cannot understand how the reconstruction of the South- 
ern States could have taken place in accordance with 
legal requirements without their assistance; and the 
South is to this day indebted to these same men for 
some of her most substantial improvement, and much of 
the energy and business vitality enjoyed by her. 



CHAPTER IX. 



The Camp-Meeting Ground.— General Appearance of the 
Place. — ^Jones Pleased. — Religious Tendencies of the Colored Race. 
Are they Peculiarities of the Colored Race, or are they Begotten 
of their Weak and Oppressed Condition ? — The Writer's Views on 
this Subject. — Reminiscences of a Camp-Meeting. — Sudden Pros- 
tration and Narrow Escape. — The Philadelphia "Mourner." — 
Quotations from a Sermon. — First Lines of some of the Hymns. — 
A Woman on Fire. — Disadvantage of Wearing a Hoop Skirt. — 
Nearing Civilization. 



For one to undertake a description of the manners 
and customs of the South without including a camp 
meeting, would be as futile as for the continental tourist 
to essay a description of Rome with St. Peter's left out; 
for as St. Peter's is a fair type of the predominating 
religious sentiment of the inhabitants of that city, to an 
equal degree does the camp meeting of the South serve 
as an exponent of the moral and religious tendencies of 
the colored people there; and since in many sections of 
the South the colored people constitute not only the 
bone and sinew of the land, but also give to it whatever 
of soul and vitality it ma}*^ possess, it follows that what- 
ever interests them pertains to all. 

It is not to be wondered at then that when our part}^ 
having left the deserted mansion and plantation in the 



120 

rear, approached the site where during the previous fall 
the residents of the surrounding country had held a 
great camp meeting, we were inspired with feelings akin 
to awe and made to audibly soliloquize, as we dismounted 
and closely scrutinized every object of interest connected 
with it — like the reverential son of the Emerald Isle on a 
former occasion — " tread lightl}', for its on howl}'^ groun' 
that 3^e are." There was the vast auditorium just as it 
was left at the close of the previous season of religious 
excitement. Its construction was the acme of simplicity 
and econom3\ Posts, forked at the top, were planted in 
the ground; upon these, poles were laid in a longitudinal 
direction; resting upon them, transversely, other poles 
were placed to form a roof, and the whole was then 
covered over with branches and twigs, thus affording an 
excellent protection against the force of the sun's rsiys 
or the dews of the evening. At one end of this pavilion 
was a rude perch, which served the purpose of a pulpit; 
split logs, with the flat side up and holes bored in the 
rounded side for the accommodation of legs, answered 
the purpose of seats; while without, surrounding all, at 
irregular intervals, were little arbors or booths, furnished 
with rustic tables and seats, which answered every pur- 
pose of domestic use to the wear}'' pilgrim who had per- 
formed his hegira to this Mecca of his ambition. 

Such were the appointments of this rustic fane; and 
as Jones drank in the scene and descanted on his former 



121 

experiences at similar places, his religious enthusiasm 
was with difficulty repressed. For be it remembered, 
like other members of the colored race, especially in the 
sunny South, his religious tendencies were strong and 
required but little of exhortation or song to fan them to 
a glowing flame. On more occasions than one has the 
writer been awakened from a profound slumber at the 
dead hour of night by the loud and earnest supplications 
of cousin Henry. Those occasions generally immediately 
preceeded or attended a season of physical suffering or 
business embarrassment, but rarely followed them; and, 
being blessed with a pair of healthy lungs, they were 
matters of common notoriety among the neighbors, "and 
frequently cost him much embarrassment when in his 
more prosperous seasons he became so recreant as to 
indulge in profanity. 

Much has been attributed to the colored people on 
the score of religious sentiment, while their prayers and 
melodious songs, ascending from the cane-brakes and 
cabins of the South, have found a place in works of fact 
as well as fiction, and many a tear of genuine sym- 
pathy has started to the eyes of humane persons on 
hearing the mournful wail, as imitated by the now 
ubiquitous jubilee singer of the stage. 

The questions have often been asked whether this 
religious enthusiasm, exhibited in so man}^ and vigorous 
waj^s, is a peculiar characteristic of the African race, or 



122 

is it begotten by the weak and oppressed condition in 
which they are placed in this country? Were their con- 
dition reversed and if, instead of having been enslaved 
and persecuted they had been free and favored, instead 
of being poor and subject to caste proscription they 
were rich and preferred, would that same religious fer- 
vency and zeal be conspicuous? 

Nor is the writer prepared to conscientious!}- answer 
these questions in an unequivocal manner. A well- 
known writer, speaker and agitator in the anti- 
slaverj'^ cause of this country, once said, in substance, 
from the rostrum that were it not for the vivacitv of the 
African disposition, and the great fund of religious sen- 
timent which characterizes him, he never could have 
survived his attlictions in this country in his present 
condition. Instead of multiplying, he would have 
decreased numericall}'; instead of maintaining his 
pristine physical and intellectual force, he would have 
degenerated, and the imbecile and insane asj'lums of the 
land, as well as the infirmaries, would to-day be full to 
overflowing. 

I raise no issue with the gentleman, for he may be 
correct in his conclusions, but by no means do I desire 
to claim for the race with which I am identified any 
greater degree or different quality of intellect or morality 
than is possessed by the average races of the human 
family on the face of the earth. And I think I speak 



123 

the sentiments of a majority of the more thoughtful 
members of our race when I sa}^ if we have only accorded 
to us the credit of possessing such ordinary and reason- 
able qualities of mind and soul as are the mead of men 
in general, together with a fair opportunity in the race 
of life of proving them, we shall be satisfied therewith. 
Other races have been oppressed, and severely, too, and 
their oppressions followed seasons of prosperitj^ which 
made it all the more unendurable; and yet they lived 
through it and prospered. Such was the case with the 
Helots of Greece, and such the condition of the Saxons 
after the advent of William the Conqueror, not to men- 
tion instances of less note in other countries at different 
times. 

I have noticed that afllictions in anv form have a 
tendency to soften the hearts and quicken the consciences 
of persons of all colors* and conditions; and, in the 
course of the writer's legal experience, he has borne 
witness to the marvellous conversion of some very 
hardened criminals — men who to all appearances were 
incorrigible, and had previously been given up as lost. 

Who that has been present on the occasion of a storm 
at sea, railroad accident, or other threatened or actual 
calamity, when hardened sinners, (old men, in some 
instances, who had not thought of supplicating the 
Throne of Grace since their mothers taught them around 
the family altar to lisp their infant prayers,) upon bended 



124 

knees, with their countenances bathed in tears of peni- 
tance, were pouring forth their souls in earnest suppli- 
cations, has not experienced the truth of the observation? 

Is it to be wondered at, in view of the fact of our 
sufferings and afflictions in this land, that the past and 
present generations of colored men have betokened, b}' 
their prayers and songs, a deep sense of their dependence 
upon the God of nations, and trust in Him for a happy 
issue of their cause? I think not. We are led to believe 
from the accounts of African travelers that when 
in his native land, surrounded by the incidents pertain- 
ing to his barbarous condition, he is brave and daring, 
and that his actions betra}^ no greater degree of religious 
enthusiasm than is to be seen among nations of a lighter 
hue. Witness the struggles of the savage Zulus during 
their recent war with the English. 

But to return to the camp meeting. The writer 
recalls in a very vivid manner an evening passed at a 
place similar to the one now before us, less than a year 
ago, when it seemed as though the whole region was 
seized with a religious mania, little short of absolute 
insanity. For weeks previous, the camp meeting was 
the only subject worthy of discussion and it over- 
shadowed everj'thing else, except the one practical 
matter of obtaining daily bread. Small bits of money 
were treasured up, new gowns and turbans, flashings in 
their ruddy hues were bought and prepared ; chickens, 



125 

ducks and suckling pigs were fattened ; all in anticipation 
of the great event. And when the time came, such a 
gathering of the neighboring clans as took place beggars 
description. To say that the preaching, singing or pra}'- 
ing was artistic would not be true, and to sa^- it was earnest 
would be less than truth, for it was something more; it 
was violent, it was emotional, it was comical. The ser- 
mon, as near as we can remember, was a strange mix- 
ture of eloquence and humor, and some of the observa- 
tions made by the pi'eacher were absolutely' startling in 
their nature. In referring to the expulsion of the 
money-changers and those that sold doves from the 
Temple by the Savior, he represented the Savior as 
"going in" with his sleeves rolled up; and, again, in 
accounting for the ascension of the Savior into heaven 
after the resurrection, he swept awa}' all theories and 
speculations with a single motion of the hand, and in 
his imagination pictured a windlass in heaven with a 
golden cord attached thereto, to one end of which, be- 
ing lowered, the Savior was clinging, while beautiful 
angels, robed in white, labored at cranks to wind him 
up. The singing was peculiar, defying all attempts on 
the part of the average novice at imitation; but for the 
purpose of conveying only a faint idea of its character 
to the uninitiated we will quote the first lines of a few 
of them. One which was sung with great earnestness 
commenced as follows : 



126 

** Jjook out dar, sinner, how you trample on de cross. 
If your foot should slip you are shoah to get los', 
l*m gwine ter jine de b-a-n\ Pm gwine to jine de ban'." 

Another less solemn but more suggestive ran as fol- 
follows : 

" I wish ole Satan would be still, 
Gwine ter git a home bimeby ; 
An' let me do my marster's will, 
Gwine ter git a home bimeby." 

Still another expression of the trials and tribulations 
of this life ran as follows: 

" Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down. 
Sometimes I'm almos' on de groun'." 

These are but a drop in the bucket as compared with 
the oceans of poetry and music indulged in on that 
occasion, under the inspiration of which the brothers 
and sisters would not only pat their feet and clap their 
hands together, but shout, jumping about, pulling at 
imaginarj^ ropes, as if in the very act of climbing up 
into heaven, and in some instances actuall}' fainting and 
being carried out and laid in a cool place. I blush to 

say it, but it is nevertheless true, it sometimes happened 
that a sister who possessed a bonnet or dress a little 
newer in style, or more brilliant in colors, suffered the 
mortification of having it partly torn from her by some 
jealous sister while under the influence of the spirit and 
engaged in one of these demonstrations. 



127 

For such reasons as the one just related, the writer 
has often feared that much of the apparent religious 
enthusiasm on the part of some of these people is 
feigned; on the other hand, some are sincere. 

It happened upon an occasion similar to the one 
spoken of, when the writer was a silent observer, that a 
burly man, who sat next to him, suddenly, and without 
any warning, fell over and kicked out with his feet, one 
of them coming in close proximit}'^ to our nasal pro- 
tuberance. Now it happens that if there is one member 
of the writer's body that he is more jealous of than an}- 
other it is his nose, hence he has not, up to the present 
time, ceased congratulating himself upon his fortunate 
escape, for there is no room for a reasonable doubt that, 
had he been struck in the face with the heavj^ brogan 
worn by the stricken brother, his countenance would 
have been spoiled for all time to come. The ** mourner'' 
had reason to be offended at the writer, because of the 
very active part he had taken against him in a law suit a 
short time previous to this occurrence, and whether he 
had adopted that mode of repairing his injured feelings, 
does not plainly appear. 

At another time when we were present, the chandelier, 
which consisted of a coal oil lamp, lashed to a joist 
over head, fell with a crash in the middle of the minis- 
ters discourse, and the oil, immediately igniting, set fire 
to the clothes of a lady sitting near hy. Vain were the 



130 

she answered. "A what!" exclaimed the policeman. 
"A m-o-ur-n-e-r, sir," was again answered. '"Well!" 
exclaimed the officer, " that's a pretty row to be raising 
on the streets at this hour of the night. If you don't 
get to your houses in a hurry I shall lock you up." At 
the mention of the lock-up the mourner was dropped and 
left to shift for herself, and, though the remainder of the 
party were rapid in their flight, she distanced them all, 
and led the inglorious retreat. 

I hope no one will gain the impression from what has 
been written that the writer would cast any reflection of 
an improper character upon the Christian religion, or 
ridicule the eflbrts of the humblest worker in the vine- 
yard of the Lord ; for he recognizes the vastness of the 
responsibility any one must necessarily incur who has 
the effrontery to do such a thing. If there is one thing, 
however, that we hate and detest upon earth more than 
another, that thing is hypocris3\ Hence we have no. 
scruples in mimicing or ridiculing whatever savors of 
duplicity in religion, believing that he who steals the 
livery of heaven to serve the devil in is just as much a 
thief and a robber as he who cracks a safe or robs a 
bank; and more contemptible, because he cowardly 
uses the means provided for the accomplishment of 
noble ends as a blind to the dishonorable aims in view 
on his part. 

But we linger around this old camping ground too 



131 

long; we must go. Again we are mounted and pur- 
suing our journej'. Our distance is growing beautifully 
less, and expectation runs high, predicated upon our 
arrival in the town. Only ten miles further, and our 
journe}'^ will have ended. 



CHAPTER X. 



The Ku Klux-Klan. — Its Origin. — Its Name. — Objects and 
Deeds of Violence. — Becollections of its Early Days. — Proofs of its 
Existence. — What Hon. Reverdy Johnson thought of its Members. 
— The Origin of the Exodus, and Probable Result. 



We had onl}^ proceeded a short distance further on 
our way, when we were confronted by the charred re- 
mains of what had been a dwelling house. 

'* What's that?" 1 asked for the hundredth time, ad- 
dressing Jones. 

" That," said he, *^is the work of the Ku-Klux-Klan. 
The man who lived there was nominated for an office of 
inconsiderable importance; but being a "Yankee" and for 
that reason displeasing to his Democratic neighbors, he 
was warned to leave the country; and failing to heed 
the notice, he was taken from his house one night by a 
body of masked men, given a coat of tar and feathers, 
and twenty-four hours in which to make his escape. 
After that treatment he hesitated no longer, but left for 
parts unknown, glad enough to be spared his life. On 
the following night his house, with all its contents, were 
burned to the ground, and left in the condition you now 



133 

Further inquiry only tended ^to strengthen the truth 
of Jones' statement; not only this but the additional 
fact that throughout the region we were then traversing, 
there was a thoroughly organized association of men 
under the name given above. The Ku-Klux Klan was 
an organization conceived in sin, and born in iniquity; 
based not so much upon any wrongs or oppression that 
its members were actually suffering at the hands of 
the members of the newly organized government of 
the State, as upon an imagined violence done to '* all 
their preconceived opinions and prejudices," in the lan- 
guage of our Southern correspondent, whose letter we 
have given in a previous chapter. One of those opinions 
was that the South ought to have been left alone to 
secede from the Union of these States, and not re- 
strained by the vigorous North; hence a violence had 
been done the South in restraining her. Another opin- 
ion was that, after having been scourged back into the 
line of States, South Carolina ought to have been given 
loose reins to reconstruct herself, and make her own 
laws; even though their tendency were such as to 
crush out every spark of civil life from the freedmen, 
deprive them of their newly acquired political privileges, 
and relegate them to the condition of "corn-field dar- 
kies," with overseers to crack their whips over their 
heads, and not even a master to say them nay. Vio- 
lence had been done to their ** preconceived opinions" 



134 

by denying them this privilege, and to cap the climax, 
their '^preconceived i)rejudices" had been violated by per 
mitting *' corn-field darkies and arm}' sutlers'' to hold 
offices of emolument and trust, notwithstanding the fact 
they utterly refused to fraternize with them even politi- 
callj', and reap a portion of the benefits accruing there- 
from. There was no reasonable cause of complaint 
existing on the part of the people of that State 
that could not have been adjusted by lawful means 
entirely within their power and under their control; 
and that, in any one of our more considerate States 
of the North would have been modified without resort 
to violence and incendiarism. Not so with these im- 
pulsive people, however. ** Their preconceived opinions 
and prejudices" had been violated, and now, just as 
when the Republican party of the North had violated 
them by electing Abraham Lincoln to the Presidential 
chair, nothing short of blood would wipe out the stain. 

They regarded the ** carpet-bagger " as the common 
foe, and, as a consequence, all arguments that could be 
lavished upon him, having in view his conversion to 
their doctrines, would be worse than wasted. Hence 
they let him severely alone, and in his State of ostracism 
he was left to fraternize with " corn-field darkies " or 
else live the life of a hermit. He chose the former. 

But to the colored men the}'^ poured forth their souls 
in all the eloquence at their command, in the vain effort 



135 

to lure them back again to all their former felicities ( ?). 
In this attempt as well they were doomed to disappoint- 
ment, for their colored brethren had lived among them 
long enough to understand the diflerence between free- 
dom and slavery, and took no heed of their prayers and 
entreaties. The colored men were then, as now, true to 
the cause of the Union. They had prayed for it; they 
had fought for it; and now they would vote lor it, and not 
all the fair promises of their former masters, nor even 
the reputed wealth of the Indies could swerve them one 
inch from their recognized path of duty. I have known 
freedmen to walk twenty miles, in a thinly populated 
region, to the nearest voting precinct to cast their ballots, 
even when they knew that suqji action on their part 
widened the breach between them and their employers 
and jeopardized their dearest interests, so true were they 
to the principles which they had espoused. Being foiled 
in their efforts to coax or scare their former slaves into a 
support of their " preconceived opinions and prejudices," 
and being fully determined to yield no jot or tittle to the 
policy pursued by the Republican part^'^, as a last resort, 
and one more in consonance with their tastes, inclina- 
tions and early training, thep adopted the policy now 
known as ku-klux-ism — a policy of cowardice, perjury, 
rapine and murder; one ill-suited to any people other 
than such as are found in the South among her half 
civilized white population. 



136 

The "klan" was thoroughly organized, having a 
ritual, signs, grips and passwords, They wore masks to 
conceal their cowardly faces, and bound each other with 
a solemn oath not to reveal the name of any member, 
nor divulge any secret of the order. 

Their name, " Ku-Klux-Klan," is said to have been 
suggested to them by the sound made in the act of 
cocking and discharging the rifles and shot-guns carried 
by them — ^the first two syllables being repeated in a 
subdued tone of voice, as Ku Klux, represented the 
cocking of the piece; while the last syllable, Klarty being 
repeated with emphasis, betokened its discharge. 

The objects of the Klan^ as have been already hinted 
at, were to banish the so-called " carpet-baggers " from 
the State, restore the freedmen to positions of serfdom 
under their former masters, and regain control of the 
government of the State. They carried a knife in one 
hand and a torch in the other^ while in their belt ihey 
wore a revolver. The bull-whip and raw-hide were also 
instruments of their torture, and made to produce 
arguments which none dared refute. In their expedi- 
tions they spared neither age, sex nor color, and the 
reputation of being a " black republican " was all that 
was needed to place one under the ban of their con- 
demnation. 

To note the progress of the sentiment which culmin- 
ated in the organization of this '* Klan,'' was a matter of 



137 

much curiosity ; and since the writer was located in one 
portion of the Sate of South Carolina, from its inception 
until its discovery and prosecution under the adminis- 
tration of President Grant, he enjoyed many facilities in 
this connection not within reach of persons at a dis- 
tance from the scene of their diabolism. 

As early as the gubernatorial contest in 1870, while 
the writer, with others, were assisting in the canvass of 
the State in behalf of the Republican party, frequent 
paroxysms of rage were noted on the part of the " re- 
spectable people" of the State, which on more occasions 
than one, well nigh resulted in blood shed. In one 
instance this was so manifestly true that ever afterward 
our party went out *' upon the stump" prepared for the 
worst. On the occasion referred to, while one of us, 
mounted upon a rustic rostrum, was descanting on 
the evils of Democratic rule, and lauding to the skies the 
magnanimous policy of the Republican party, a coarse 
looking man with his pants tucked into the legs of a 
pair of cow-hide boots, and wearing a broad-brimmed 
straw hat, who had been standing under a tree near by 
with a few others of similar stamp, paring a sweet 
potato with a dangerous looking knife which he held in 
his hand, becoming incensed at something which the 
speaker said, dropped his potato, and brandishing his 
knife, rushed toward him. In an instant a dozen sable 
sons of our party stood between the speaker and his 

IT 



138 

assailant, and with drawn blades defied the assassin to 
touch a hair of his head. His violence soon subsided 
without harm being done. 

On another occasion, when the orator of the day, 
during the delivery of a Fourth of July oration, was 
drawing a very striking contrast between the times 
that had been and those that were, a former nominee of 
the Democratic party for Congressman who was present, 
took umbrage at something that was said, and catching 
the speaker by one leg attempted to pull him from the 
stand. He came well nigh being paid for his temerity 
by a thrust from a sword in the hands of one of the 
audience, who was a captain of militia. And thus on 
nearly every occasion that offered these offended people 
would betoken their active hostility to every thing of a 
political nature not in full harmony with " all their pre- 
conceived opinions and prejudices." 

As time wore on apace their opposition increased in 
virulence, and assumed a more open form. About six 
months later direct opposition in the nature of Ku-Klux 
outrages began to be felt and heard from. In the 
adjoining county a white Republican was summoned to 
his door one night by the usual alarm; he went accom- 
panied by his wife and daughter, and instead of 
welcoming a neighbor or friend who had come to per- 
form a friendly errand, they were confronted by a band 
of Ku-Klux, who, without any word of warning or even 



139 

opportunity of making his peace with his God, shot him 
down like a dog. 

In another section of the State a loving husband and 
kind father was bound and flogged in the presence of 
his family, because he heeded not their warning to desist 
from taking an active part in the campaign then inau- 
gurated; houses and well-fllled barns were burned and a 
perfect reign of terror inaugurated. Their deeds of 
violence being heralded abroad, alarm seized upon all 
Republicans who inhabited sparsely- settled counties, 
having their places of abode, in some instances, sepa- 
rated by miles of intervening forest, and their cries for 
help were such as to attract the attention of the General 
Government, who sent its ministers of justice to the 
scene, where a full investigation of the transactions of 
the infamous " Klan " was had, of which more anon. 

It was at about this time that numerous suspicious 
looking " dodgers," written in an unknown hand, were 
scattered promiscuously through the streets and stores 
of Hudsonville, some of them even having been posted 
to the trees of the Public Square during the night time. 
These dodgers and placards bore threats of vengeance 
swift and dire to all who belonged to the " black Repub- 
lican part3%" unless they severed their connection with 
it, and prophesied that the day of retribution was near 
at hand. To the State senator representing our own 
county they said, " Beware, oh, beware ! Your doom is 



140 

sealed!" Under the circumstances, we were alarmed. 
It is true that a matter of a similar nature in the well- 
regulated North would have excited only derision- at the 
expense of the originators of the scheme; but in that 
disturbed locality, with man}' recent murders staring us 
in the face, and a knowledge of the fact that in other 
sections of the State much violence had been committed 
by this same organization, I think our perturbation was 
excusable. Accordingly, during the following night and 
several others thereafter, every able-bodied man in the 
village, of both colors, who had at heart the welfare of 
the party and its threatened representatives, was sum- 
moned to do guard duty at the house of our senator, as 
well as to patrol the streets, in anticipation of any out- 
burst of violence. 

The first night was dark and dismal; the rain fell in 
torrents, drenching everything exposed to its action; 
and the darkness was so intense as to be almost felt, 
save when an occasional flash of lightning exposed all 
nature to view, and filled the imagination with weird 
forms. On such a night as the foregoing the writer was 
summoned to do guard dut3^ He had just retired for 
the night, and his wife and little infant, snugly ensconced, 
were protected from the fury of the elements. It was a 
sore affliction to arise and go forth into that pelting 
storm, but when duty called we had to obey. M}'^ wife 
suggested that, owing to the inclemency of the weather, 



141 

the danger might not be great on that occasion, for 
surely, she said, the Ku-Klux would not venture forth in 
such weather; however, remembering the old maxim, 
" The darker the night, the darker the deed," we trusted 
them as to nothing, and obej-ed the summons. Whj' 
were we thus deprived of our needed and dearh^-bought 
rest? What had we done contrary to our country's weal? 
What law had been broken or set at defiance that we, 
like fugitives from justice, were driven from pillar to 
post without finding rest for our feet or place to lay our 
heads? Not one of these trespasses had we been guilty 
of, and yet we were the objects of their relentless perse- 
cutions. 

Whether it was owing to our continued vigilance, or 
to some stroke of policy on their part, I cannot say; but, 
nevertheless, the Ku Klux did not visit us on that occa- 
sion, and before another season we had changed our 
place of abode. 

Many persons in both sections of the United States 
have aflfected a certain incredulity with reference to 
recitals of the outrages perpetrated on the Republicans 
of the South by this infamous band, and have gone so 
far as to ridicule the very idea as being preposterous, 
and stamp it as a trick of political demagogues to 
create sympath}^ on the part of the people of the North 
in behalf of a government of " corn-field darkies and 
army sutlers." We not only hurl the insinuation back at 



142 

them, but challenge all such to a careful perusal of some 
of the admissions of their most able men an^ public 
journals, as well as other convincing proofs that are at our 
command. It is a well-known fact that, upon the arrest 
and prosecution of some of the leaders of the " klan " in 
the State of South Carolina, during the winter of 1871, 
with a great show of indignation and not a little expense, 
Hon. Keverdy Johnson was procured to go from his 
pleasant home in the North to that forsaken country, for 
the purpose of making a defense of their interests. It 
was a matter for congratulation on the part of many 
well-disposed persons in the North, whose minds had 
become somewhat biased, because of the unfortunate 
reports of misrule and political corruption which were 
constantly coming up from the South, as well as the 
loud protestations of innocence that were constantly 
being made on the part of the accused, that such a man 
as Mr. Johnson had been selected to defend these cases; 
for, knowing his political predilections, but withal hav- 
ing the utmost confidence in his integrity as a lawyer 
and citizen, they felt assured that the truth, pure and 
simple, would be disclosed. Imagine their feelings of sur- 
prise then, when, after a protracted trial, guarded by all 
the ingenuit}^ of so distinguished an attorney as he, with 
full and free access to every means of defense, Mr. 
Johnson, in the course of his speech in one of these cases, 
on the 31st day of December, 1871, in the presence of 



143 

the accused and their friends, delivered himself of the 
following sentiments : 

" I have listened with unmixed horror to some of the 
testimony which has been brought before you. The 
outrages proved are shocking to humanity; they admit 
of neither excuse nor justification; they violate every 
obligation which law and nature impose upon men; 
they show that the parties engaged were brutes, insen- 
sible to the obligations of humanity and religion. The 
day will come, however, if it has not already arrived, 
when they will deeply lament it. Even if justice shall 
not overtake them, there is one tribunal from which 
there is no hope. It is their own judgment — that tribu- 
nal which sits in the breast of every living man — that 
small, still voice that thrills through the heart — the soul 
of the mind, and as it speaks, gives happiness or torture 
— the voice of conscience, the voice of God. If it has 
not already spoken to them in tones which have startled 
them to the enormity of their conduct, I trust in the 
mercy of heaven, that, that voice will speak before they 
shall be called above to account for the transactions of 
this world. That it will so speak as to make them peni- 
tent, and that trusting: in the dispensation of Heaven, 
whose justice is dispensed with merc}^ when they shall 
be brought before the bar of their great tribunal, so to 
speak, that incomprehensible tribunal, there will be found 



144 

in the fact of their penitence, or in their previous lives, 
some grounds upon which God may say, 'Pardon.'" 

Such sentiments, coming from the lips of their own 
paid counsel, together with the fact that the accused 
were convicted by a jury of their peers, ought most 
assuredly to carry conviction with them to the mind of 
every fair thinking man. But if anything further were 
needed, let the following from a Georgia newspaper — 
the Oglethorpe Echo^ a "Conservative'' paper of that 
section — speak : " Anthony Thurster, the negro preacher 
who was so severely whipped by a part}^ of disguised men 
near Maxle^^'s lately, asks that we announce to his white 
friends that from this time forward he will prove himself 
a better man ; will never again make a political speech^ 
deliver a sermon^ or vote a Bepuhlican ticket : from 
henceforth he is an unswerving Democrat. We are glad 
that Anthony's eyes are at last opened to a proper course 
for him to pursue, but sorry that such stringent measures 
had to be adopted ere he would, as it were, be * born 
again.' " 

Again, we have the statement of H. M. Dixon, who 
was not long since murdered in Mississippi because he 
dared to run on an independent ticket, supported by men 
of all political tendencies, as follows: " Owing to certain 
reports that Patterson, a member of the Republican 
Legislature who was hanged in the eventful campaign of 
1875, had a considerable sum of money on his person, 



146 

and that said money was used for my own benefit, I feel 
in honor bound to vindicate myself, although I deplore 
to refer to the past as it will bring before the public 
7nany of our best citizens, I will briefly state that said 
money, and larger sums, was raised to defray the current 
expenses of the campaign and to stuff the ballot-boxes 
if necessary; to purchase certificates of election for two 
ofi^cers now holding ofi^ces of trust and emolument in 
our count3\ I have in my possession the necessary 
proof, and if called upon will furnish it. Signed: H. M. 
Dixon." 

These proofs, together with the voluminous reports 
of committees appointed by Congress to investigate this 
subject, ought to leave no candid man in doubt. But in 
addition to all that has been said and written on this 
subject, if more were needed, we have a condition of well- 
established circumstances more patent than all. Wit- 
nesses will sometimes falsify ; even men who are disposed 
to deal fairly in their testimony, at times become biased 
by reason of their interest in the issue at stake, or, per- 
haps, their peculiar surroundings; but circumstances, 
when admitted, never lie. What shall we say then of 
the sudden and precipitate fiight of the men of the North 
who went to the South and invested their capital and 
labor, intending, in good faith, to become residents of 
that section? Surely it was no trivial cause that pro- 



[\ 



146 

duced that result. The Goldsboro, North Carolina, State, 
commenting on this action on the part of this class of 
citizens in the South, uses the following suggestive 
language : 

" It is a sad fact for this worn-out and famished 
State, that of the thousands of men who came hither, 
invested their means, and attempted to make homes 
under Republican rule, to-day but few remain. At the 
loss of their all they have wandered awa}'^ to seek a home 
where they can speak their sentiments and vote as they 
deem best, without subjection to insult, abuse and villifi- 
cation from such men as Governor Vance. Immigrants 
from all countries and all states pass us b}', the " carpet- 
baggers " lose their all rather than remain, and many of 
I 

\ her own sons seek in states where schools, polls and 
\ speech are free — a new home." 

These citations are in part from sources outside of 
the State of South Carolina, but notwithstanding, they 
show a common purpose and unity of action on the part 
of the Democratic party of the South, to usurp by unfair 
means that power they cannot justly obtain at the ballot 
box, and trample the rights of others under their feet. 

The question is sometimes asked: "Why don't the 
freedraen fight?" If our readers will for a moment con- 
sider that these men were, from their infancy, taught to 
fear and obey white men ; that they are uneducated and 



147 

unsophisticated, while their former masters are educated 
and shrewd; that while the white men of the South were 
educated to the use of the rifle and the shot-gun, the 
freedmen were kept in ignorance of tlieir use; and 
further, that in manj* instances the freedmen are without 
leaders, they will appreciate the condition of these poor 
men with their unfortunate surroundings. 

In our humble opinion the solution of the problem of 
the future of the South is involved in the out'^ome of 
the present movement of the colored farm hands of the 
South to Northern and Western States. If it shall con- 
tinue until the laboring element of that section is 
materially weakened, a change of policy on the part of 
the intolerant faction there will, of neccssitj^ be adopted; 
and this change will be of such a character as shall 
admit to equal terms of civil and political fraternity the 
sable freedmen then remaining among them; or else 
invite as participants in the profits of their estates, a 
foreign element who will be willing to cultivate them 
and preserve them from ruin. Time alone can unfold 
the result. 

Of one thing there can be no reasonable doubt — the 
colored men of the South, having been robbed and mur- 
dered, their wives and daughters having been subjected 
to the insults and outrages of a brutalized populace, 
have long since become disgusted, and now having their 



148 

eyes opened to a proper sense of their degradation and 
abu&e, are rapidly seeking homes in the free Northwest, 
where they can serve God and their country according 
to the dictates of their own conscience, and reap a rich 
reward as the result of honest labor. 



CHAPTER XI. 



The Poor Whites of the South. — Contributing Causes of their 
Present Condition. — Their Social Status; Habits of Life; Means 
of Support. — Dislike of them by the Colored People of the South. 
— Struggles on the Part of Some of Them to Better their Condi- 
tion. — Remarkable Instances of Success. — Their Future in This 
Country. 

We were now nenring our journey's end, and as we 
gradually approached this center of civilization in the 
'*01d North Stale," an increased degree of animation 
was plainly perceptible. The roads became more nu- 
merous ; the antiquated log huts of the route gave place 
to houses a little more modern and pretentious in 
appearance, having frames and being covered with clap- 
boards. Nor is this all. The inhabitants of the country 
became more numerous — to whom our little procession, 
as we journeyed along, was a source of much curiosity 
and more speculation. In some instances a woman's 
head would be thrust out of a window to gain a view of 
us; in others, the door would be partly opened and the 
end of a nose could be seen protruding; and, then, again 
the whole family would come out, and, with countenances 
full of blank amazement, stare at us as though we were 
the first living specimens of humanity they had enjoyed 
the privilege of beholding for many days. 



150 

It was during our passage through this part of the 
countr}' that we enjoyed an excellent opportunity of 
observing the condition and social habits of that large 
and, I may sa}', unfortunate class of people who inhabit 
every portion of the South, known and designated as 
"poor whites," who must not be confounded with the 
honest laborers of the North, known in the South by the 
Soutbern chivalry as " Northern mud-sills." I say un- 
fortunate because, while I acknowledge the truth of the 
old maxim — '* Evei}' man is the architect of his own 
fortune," — I believe it to be equally true that we arc all 
the creatures of circumstances, and, to some extent, " it 
is better to be born luck}- than rich.'* Many a person 
has lived his allotted span and gone hence, leaving 
behintl him a reputation, among his fellows, pure and 
unspotted, wlio had he been surrounded by a different 
state of circumstances during his lifetime would have 
made shipwreck of his most favorable opportunities. 
The possession of means in abundance, and the absence 
of penury' and want, often prevents a man from exhibit- 
ing a thieving disposition. The lack of an occasion 
prevents, in some instances, a dormant mendacity' from 
asserting itself; while the absence of an emergency, 
beyond doubt, relieves the world of a murderer in many 
instances. And, vice versa, men are sometimes reduced 
to an unfortunate condition ^f life, and led to commit 



151 

acts at war with their best judgment and natural incli- 
nations, from the sheer force of circumstances. 

For these reasons, I refer to the " poor whites '' of 
the South as an unfortunate cla-ss; for, in my opinion, 
they are the unfortunate victims of a number of contrib- 
uting causes, such as would sink an}' people on the face 
of the earth to a similar depth of physical, intellectual 
and moral degradation, anything short of a miracle 
intervening. 

To begin, then I There seems to be little room for 
doubt that climatic influences have contributed toward 
the present condition of these people, for their emaciated 
bodies and sallow complexions are just such as one 
would naturally expect to encounter under the debilita- 
ting influences of a semi-tropical clime, in the absence 
of such hygienic influences as may be artificially applied 
toward the preservation of health. It is a well-known 
fact that climate does exert an influence over men as 
well as the lower animals, and that in the course of a 
protracted time, with diet and habits of life changed, 
men and animals have been known to undergo radical 
changes of a physical and intellectual character. The 
hair of horses has become to closely resemble wool after 
their removal from a temperate to a tropical clime. The 
wool of sheep, on the contrary, has taken the appear- 
ance of hair; colors have changed, and, in short, the 
course of nature apparently reversed. (See Narrative 



152 

of a Journey Through the Upper Provinces of India; 
second edition: London, 1828; vol. ii., p. 219; also see 
Wiseman's Lectures on Science and Revealed Religion ; 
new edition, 1866, lectqre third.) 

Cardinal Wiseman, in his lectures on Science and 
Revealed Religion^ Lecture Third, page 135, refers to the 
statement of a recent traveler who explored the Hauran, 
or district beyond the Jordan, wherein he speaks of a 
family residing at Abu-el-Beady, in charge of the sanc- 
tuar}^ as being remarkable for having negro features, a 
deep black color and crisped hair ; the male and female 
progenitors of whom were of pure Arabian blood, both of 
the past and present generations. He further says that 
the Arabs who inhabit the vallc}*^ of the Jordan have 
flatter features, darker skins and coarser hair than any 
other tribes. Our own countryman. Dr. Draper, in a 
work written by him on physiology, argues at some 
length and with much earnestness, and not a little show 
of reasonableness to our mind, that not only may changes 
be produced in the size and form of the features, and 
color and feeling of the skin by climatic conditions, but 
he goes so far as to assert that domestic and social differ- 
ences, when no change of climate takes place, often 
produce marked differences of a physical and moral 
nature. 

We are constrained to admit, then, that the great 
change from an invigorating, temperate climate on the 



163 

part of these people, to a warm and sluggish one, has 
had its effect in transforming them from men of energy 
and ambitious aims to the inanimate specimens of 
humanity that we find them now. The prevalence of 
bilious and malarial fevers, accompanied with agues, 
throughout the greater portion of the South, caused in 
part by the too rapid generation of the bile in the sys 
tem, and, to a greater extent, by miasma escaping from 
the swamp lands referred to in another portion of this 
volume, has a very enervating effect, and the man who 
has the moral courage or physical endurance to raise 
himself up from beneath the weight of inertia which 
presses so heavily upon all in that climate, is indeed a 
hero in the true signification of the term. 

But we are asked, " Why is not the force of this iner- 
tia perceptible in the cases of the wealthy white and 
colored people of the South?" To this question we 
reply, the wealthy whites are enervated, and were it 
not that they are able, by means of their wealth, to sur- 
round themselves with the aids and luxuries of life, and 
make frequent journeys to higher latitudes and more 
healthy sections of the country, they would rapidly sink 
to a level with the class referred to. And as for the col- 
ored population, they are differently constituted from 
the white people and better adapted to that climate. I 
infer the latter statement from the fact that the colored 
people are not subject, to an equal degree, to some of the 



154 

malarial diseases prevalent there, which, in times past, 
have proved fatal to so many thousands of the fair race. 

The unproductiveness of the soil in some of the flat 
and sandy parts, especially in the Carolinas, is another 
cause tending to discourage and demoralize the " poor 
whites " of the South. There are sections where it would 
require the undivided time and attention of an expert 
farmer to eke out the most ordinary subsistence, of 

which county. South Carolina, is a fair example. 

Where swamps do not prevail in that forsaken county, 
sands predominate; and the wonder is, not that the 
people residing there are dejected and poor, but that they 
exist at all. 

The appearance of one of these farmers on his arrival 
upon the " market" with a load of wood, is unique and 
amusing in the extreme, and many anecdotes of an 
interesting nature are related at their expense. Imagine 
two wheels, about four feet in diameter, with two poles 
attached longitudinally to the axle, holes bored in the 
poles from the rear ends to a point even with the circum- 
ference of the wheels, in which upright stakes are driven; 
then glance at the little scrawny steer between these 
poles, with bits of leather, some rope and more cloth 
strings for harness, and the arm full of wood constitut- 
ing the load, together with the little brown jug, and 
yellow cur attached to the vehicle underneath, and 
nothing further, save the long, lank, hairy creature, with 



155 

butternut clothes and a cracked voice, exclaiming, 
" W-h-o a!" will be required to complete the picture. 

It is said that upon a time, a gentleman traveling 
through county met one of these cadaverous- 
looking specimens proceeding slowly along the road with 
a rather suspicious-looking load, when the following 
colloqu}'^ ensued: Gentleman — "Where are you from?" 
Countryman — " O r-i." " Gentleman — " What's your 
load?"' Countryman — "Timber an' fruit." Gentleman 
— *' What's your timber?" Countryman — " Hoop-poles." 
Gentleman — " What's your fruit?" Countryman— "Per- 
simmons." 

Another anecdote is related of the people of this 
county, for the truthfulness of which the writer is not 
willing to vouch. It is to the effect that, while proceed- 
ing on his way after leaving the countryman just referred 
to, he encountered still another man standing beneath a 
persimmon tree, holding in his hands a pole raised aloft 
with a little pig attached to the end, which was feasting 
upon the persimmons on the tree. The gentleman 
approached the countryman, when the following conver- 
sation took place: Gentleman — "What are you doing 
there?" Countryman — " Sister Sal is goin' ter git 
married an' I'm fattenin' this pig for the weddin'." 

In addition to the foregoing influences which we 
have mentioned as exerting an influence over these poor 
people must be remembered that which the institution 



156 

of slavery, and its direct tendency to debase labor, had 
in this respect; for it is a fact, that cannot be gainsayed, 
that the baleful effects of that social ulcer made them- 
selves felt upon all colors and classes of society; and, 
while it reduced the slave to the condition of a mere 
chattel, it debased all labor and cursed the very people 
that it was intended to bless. The poor white man 
shunned labor because it was considered as the province 
of the slave to toil ; and to have condescended to till the 
soil or wield the sledge hammer would have subjected 
him to the same imbecile scorn and proscription that 
the slave was made to feel. The ladies of the slave- 
holding order reclined at ease, not even exerting them- 
selves, in some instances, to dress themselves; and when 
they went to promenade, or into the flower garden, they 
wore sun bonnets and long gauntlets to protect their fair 
complexions. Hence the ladies of the poor class, who 
aspired to be like them, refrained as much as possible 
from coming in contact with anything calculated to soil 
the hands or bronze the complexion. And in this way 
the impression gained among these people that no one 
could be a gentleman or a lady and at the same time 
** work like a nigger." The result was seen in their lean 
bodies, impoverished condition and mental imbecility. 

In addition to all that has been written, it remains to 
be said that to the failure of the wealthy white people 
of the South to provide educational facilities for these 



157 

poor people, much of their present degradation must be 
attributed. It was no uncommon thing to find commu- 
nities in the South where the fact of a man beins: able to 
read and write gave him a prominent position among 
these people, and even surrounded him with such an air 
of superiority as made him a kind of petty sovereign in 
their midst, so great was their deficiency in this respect. 
As a means of obtaining a livelihood the}'^ sought posi- 
tions which gave them a little authority over the enslaved 
colored people, such as policemen in cities, patrols in 
the countr3\ and overseers on plantations. In these 
positions thoy were noted for their acts of cruelty and 
oppression toward the colored people, and it frequently 
became necessar}'' for the outraged slave to seek the 
intervention of his master to protect him from their 
fury. The colored people of the South, both free and 
slave, heartily detested these " poor bucras," as they 
called them; their hatred going to such an extent that 
they could not endure any tiling owned by them, even 
the slaves who sometimes were so unfortunate as to fall 
into the hands of one of them who had "made a start" 
in life, coming in for a share of their contempt. Such 
as had no definite means of support resorted to such 
methods of making a living as would hardly answer the 
purpose in any other section in the United States. In 
fact the very lavishness of nature in some respects 
seemed to lend to their dissolute habits. Some of them 



158 

who had succeeded in acquiring possession of an old 
shot-gun would scour the forests in quest of game^ and 
generally succeeded in obtaining a racoon, a squirrel or 
rabbit, which would bring good cheer to the family for 
several daj^s. Others would fish in the ponds and 
streams abounding there, and find in the finu}^ tribe 
their surest means of support; while still others would 
cultivate a little garden spot, well stocked with coliards, 
raise a pig, which had a head as long as the remain- 
der of the bod}', and also keep a few chickens, that 
subsisted on the dunghill. Berrying time was a great 
season among them, when they could be seen in crowds 
going to the fields and woods to pick berries — black- 
berries and whortleberries — from the proceeds of which 
they generally succeeded in realizing a sufficient sum of 
money to buy a little clothing. The writer, during his 
stay in the South, was acquainted with a poor fellow, 
crippled as to one foot, who during the fall and winter 
seasons had to be assisted by the authorities, but who 
during the berrying season was so elated and independ- 
ent over his successes that he would scarcely recognize 
a colored man upon the streets. It mnttered not, how- 
ever, how poor they were, even though the wolf stuck at 
their very doors, they each and every one managed to 
keep by them a cur dog to share with them their joys 
and sorrows; which sometimes became so greatly 
reduced by hunger that the hens' nests in the neigh- 



159 

borhood were robbed of their eggs, and other depre- 
dations of even a more serious nature committed. 

Among the peculiar habits of these people may be 
mentioned those of clay eating, rubbing snuff and chew- 
ing tobacco by the women, and of drinking whiskey by 
both classes. As to clay eating, I cannot account for 
the origin and prevalence of the habit, unless it be that 
owing to their peculiar diet an unusual amount of acidity 
is produced in the stomach, by reason of which a certain 
craving is caused for something to neutralize its effect, 
upon the same principle that we eat magnesia for 
dyspepsia; or it may be that their stomachs need a 
foreign substance to assist their digestive powers, on the 
same principle that a chicken takes gravel into its crop; 
or, perhaps, the cravings of hunger suggest it. 

As to the force of these suggestions I leave the reader 
to judge for himself, as the writer lays no claim to being 
an expert in dirt- eating. It is nevertheless true that 
vast quantities of red, white and blue clay are eaten by 
the poor whites of the South, of all ages, but principally 
by the young. The writer has seen children sitting on 
an old-fashioned hearth before a large fireplace, pick- 
ing out the clay or mortar between the bricks and 
eating it. 

The snuff-rubbing propensity is indulged by the 
women. They purchase the strongest Scotch snufi 
within their reach, and with a stick chewed at one end, 



160 

dip it out of a tin box and eat it, or rub it, as it is called, 
the idea being that of rubbing or cleaning the teeth with 
it, which is only another name for eating it. They pre- 
fer a stick about ten inches in length, from a birch or 
black-jack tree, whose fibres are fine and tough, capable 
of being chewed into a little brush at one end, and with 
these sticking out of their mouths, they will gad the 
streets and gossip by the hour. 

The men will have their whiskey, and rather than be 
deprived of it, they scour the country in search of 
it, and part with everything except their dog and gun in 
exchange for it; the pipe and plug tobacco are necessary 
accessories, of course. 

No adequate conception can be formed by a stranger 
to their condition, of the vast gulf that separates this 
class of people from their wealthy brethren, and to 
observe the scorn and disdain visited upon them by the 
rich, one not informed with regard to all the circum- 
stances would mistake them for a species of serfs, rather 
than American citizens of "pure white blood," clothed 
in all their constitutional rights. For this reason any 
effort on the part of one of them to arise from his humil- 
iated station of life and assert his manhood is attended 
with such embarrassments and obstacles at every step as 
would dishearten au}*^ but the most determined. 

Then the avenues leading to wealth and preferment 
are difficult of access, especially to a boy or man whose 



161 

education has been neglected from his birth. His first 
move towards bettering his condition was generally to 
get a small piece of land, an undertaking attended with 
peculiar hardships to him, because in that section of the 
South most of the land that was of any value was 
owned in large tracts by men of wealth, who often exact- 
ed the last farthing before they would part with it; and 
then, being ignorant, the poor white, like his freedman 
brother, was at the mercy of the crafty vendor, who fre- 
quently defrauded him of his hard-earned means and 
left him in a worse condition than at first. However, 
having obtained a small piece of land, his next move was 
to get a substantial house, which he did by reducing the 
allowance of food and other essentials at home. It was 
a hard lot, but necessity, stern and unyielding, demanded 
the sacrifice and it had to be made, or else an entire life 
of want and disgrace stared him in the face. Having 
once obtained a piece of land and a house, his ambition 
generally led him to aspire to the possession of a slave; 
if this point could be attained, then indeed would his 
success in his undertaking be assured. For several 
years, however, he contented himself with Hiring a man 
to assist him, whom he generally managed to make earn 
all that was paid for him, until his fund being increased 
by the sale of a few bales of cotton each year, he reached 
the goal of his ambition, made the bold venture and pur- 
chased him, generally a woman or old man, but a slave 



162 

none the less. He then boro a very close relation to the 
man of whom it is said : 

" He had one male attendant, thin and lean, 

Like Borneo's Mantuan apothecary ; 
Who daily swept his dnsty office clean, 

And summed up his accounts with caution wary ; 
In short, was this factotum every way 
Burdened with labor and but little pay." 

He then began to put on airs. At times he would say : 
'* Boy, look at me! I'm your master !" At others, meeting 
some of his former companions on the road, his attention 
would be absorbed in considering something in another 
direction. But the greater portion of his time would be 
spent in aping the manners and st3'le of his wealthy 
neighbors, and trying to gain from them one smile of 
recognition. He would hire a pew in church and have 
his family attend regularly, with the vain hope that 
those aristocratic grandees would deign to notice them ; 
but, alas, how often were their hearts made to bleed 
within them by reason of the cold, heartless treat- 
ment they received. Nothing daunted, however, if he 
were composed of the proper material, he persevered, and 
continued to add to his landed possessions and increase 
the number of his slaves, until finally success attended 
his efforts and he found himself a wealthy man in full 
fellowship with his neighbors, disdaining to associate 
with the "poor white trash " from whom he sprung. 



163 

Some very illustrious men, whose names have graced 
the highest positions within the gift of the people, have 
sprung from that unfortunate class of people. Abraham 
Lincoln was a poor white of the South ; but his parents 
had the good sense and moral courage to leave Kentucky 
and go to the great Northwest; had they not, in all prob- 
abilit}^ a bright intellect and great soul would have been 
buried in obscurit}-. Andrew Johnson was one of these 
poor whites, uneducated up to manhood, but by some 
fortuitous circumstances he gained political preferment 
and lived to be President of the United States. Henry 
Clay was a poor mill boy of the South, but ascended to 
a senatorial position, wliere he won undying fame. 
Besides these, many others could be mentioned who 
conquered all opposition and forght their way to 
wealth and honor, thereby proving to every one that is 
oppressed and degraded by caste and povert}', " Where 
there is a will there is a wa}-.'' 



CHAPTER XII. 



Products of the Carolinas. — Cotton. — Turpentine. — Peanuts. — 
Sweet Potatoes, etc. — Forest Fruits. — " Chincapins." — Hickory- 
nuts. — Persimmons. — Grape Culture. — Fishes, Oysters, etc. 



As in commercial and social pursuits the South is 
more than two generations behind the other sections of 
the United States, so in respect to her agricultural tools 
and modes of procedure she is, as compared with them, 
in a state of darkness such as carries the mind far back 
into the era of the wooden plow, and other instruments 
of medieval farming. 

The people cultivating the soil throughout the region 
spoken of b}' us do not seem to appreciate the value of 
land, judging from the immense waste that is permitted 
in this respect, and the lack of interest displayed by 
them in improving what they have under cultivation, or 
in appropriating to their use the hidden treasures con- 
tained therein; for instead of keeping down the rank 
weeds that are apt to grow around the margin and in 
the corners of their fields, and plowing deep into the 
soil in order to turn up the treasures in the shape of 
rich loam, they content themselves with skimming upon 
the surface, merely breaking the crust, and gleaning 



165 

therefrom half a crop instead of a bounteous harvest. 
Wh}' the husbandmen there persist in this unprofitable 
mode of agriculture is difficult to be determined, unless it 
arises from the force of habit, being one of the rich 
legacies bequeathed to the South by the institution of 
slaver}', which she has not as yet been able to dispose 
of 

The foregoing remarks do not apply, however, so 
much to the production of the cotton plant as to cereals 
and other species of produce, since, cotton being their 
staple product, upon which all their hopes, ambitions 
and means of support are based, they have brought into 
requisition in the cultivation of it more than ordinary 
skill and energy; and, besides, the cotton plant does not 
require the same amount or quality of cultivation that 
is demanded by other products. 

The cotton yield of the Southern States at the 
present time is enormous, and it onh' requires a glance 
at a few figures for one to appreciate the fact that under 
any economical and liberal policy on the part of the 
South it could be made a source of great wealth to that 
section, and, as king of commerce, caused to demand 
the homage of the civilized nations of the earth. 
It is estimated b}^ competent judges that the 3'ield for 
the past season was not far from the gross amount of 
five millions of bales, which at a fair valuation of fifty 
dollars a bale would reach the enormous sum of two 



166 

hundred and fifty millions of dollars — an amount which 
in ten years time would be sufficient to have paid off the 
whole national debt, incurred by reason of the Southern 
Rebellion. 

Cotton was not originally the staple article of the 
South, for its cultivation and preparation for the spindle 
and loom was fraught with so much expense as to pre- 
clude the idea of making it an article of much profit to 
the planter. The territory comprised in the original 
thirteen States suitable for its cultivation was meagre, 
comparatively speaking, and the modern appliances for 
separating the seeds from the fibre not having been 
invented, the operation had to be performed by hand, 
which was both slow and expensive. Under these cir- 
cumstances it is not to be wondered at that it occupied 
a place secondar}- to other products which have since 
given place to its culture. But the invention of the 
cotton-gin b}' Whitney, and the spinning-jenny by 
Hargreaves; the application of steam to the operation 
of machinery by Watt, and the cession to the United 
States of the Florida territory, together with the acqui- 
sition of all that vast extent of land known as the 
Louisiana purchase, and the Texas territory, the fruit of 
the Mexican war, made the production of cotton not 
only easy but profitable, and at once gave it a prominence 
in the commercial world that time has only tended to 
increase. 



167 

The procefls of its cultivation as followed by the 
Southern planter is very eas}', and entails no consider- 
able expense; any one having a few acres of land and a 
sufficient amount of money to purchase a small shovel- 
plow and a few bags of guano for manure, being compe- 
tent to engage in it, provided he possesses the physical 
ability' to handle a hoe about ten inches in width. Of 
course it is always better to possess a horse, mule, 
steer, or beast of some kind to draw the plow and assist 
in the ordinary routine work, but I have known several 
instances where determined men of great muscular abil- 
ity and powers of endurance have succeeded in raising a 
small crop without anything of the kind mentioned, 
beyond the hiring of an animal for a few days to do the 
original breaking of the ground. In several instances 
the writer has seen freedmen harnessed to the little plow, 
breaking the soil between the rows after the plants had 
gained a few weeks' growth. The ground being broken 
and the shallow drills being formed, the next step 
towards raising a crop of cotton is to scatter a little 
guano along them, a thing which none but the very 
poorest class of planters will fail to do unless their land 
is phenomenal for richness, in the localities referred to. 
This is done by the plantation hands, who for that pur- 
pose don a suit made of bagging, or some other very 
cheap material, and cover their heads, since the dust 
escaping from this greatly esteemed fertilizer possesses 



168 

a most nauseating, pungent odor, and can be smelt at 
remote distances from where it is stored when the wind 
is favorable or unfavorable therefor. The guano is 
carried in a haversack, hung around the neck, and dis- 
tributed through long trumpet-shaped tin tubes, held in 
one hand of the planter, who grabs it out of the bag 
with the other. The greatest economy is practised in 
the use of guano, for its cost is considerable and its 
virtues are great, a teaspooiiful of it being a liberal 
allowance for a hill of corn, and a slight sprinkling of 
the dust along a drill — just enough to be seen — sufficing 
for cotton. Should too much be used there would be 
great danger of losing the crop from an excess of heat 
caused thereby, unless the season were a wet one. 

Cotton seed is also considered a most excellent fertil- 
izer, standing in this respect next to guano; hence they 
are treasured up and highly prized by those who possess 
them. Following the act of scattering the fertilizer comes 
that of sowing the seed (for the seed is literally sowed, 
not planted in hills as corn and sweet potatoes are), and 
when they are up and about an inch in height, the pro 
cess of "chopping out" begins, which consists in chop- 
ping out with a broad hoe the growing plants, so as to 
leave spaces between them of from ten to twelve inches, " 
according to the strength of the soil and the judgment of 
the planter. When this act is performed nothing more 
remains to be done except to keep the plants free from 



169 

weeds until they are large and strong enough to over- 
power them, when they are supported by having earth 
drawn up to them so as to form a little hill, which is 
called *' laying by." 

The planter then takes a rest, sees that his gin and 
press are in good condition, attends camp-meetings, pic- 
nics and political demonstrations, where he fraternizes 
with his neighbors over the jovial " watermilHon,^^ 

l*he plant bears beautiful pink blossoms, which give 
place to the boll containing the cotton. To appreciate 
the appearance of a cotton field filled with plants, the 
bursting bolls of which invite the agile pickers, one 
must be present upon the spot. The scene may be com- 
pared, but not fairly described, and even the imagination 
of the most poetic mind must fail to do it justice. 

After picking, the cotton is ginned, a process by 
means of which the seeds are separated from the fibre 
without injury to it. Pressing and baling complete the 
process, and it is then ready to be sent to the North or 
the continent of Europe, to be manufactured into fabrics, 
which the South repurchases at a greatly enhanced value 
to clothe her people with. 

Another article of commerce produced in the Caro- 
linas is turpentine, and, in fiact, in some sections of those 
states it almost monopolizes the attention of a large 
portion of the inhabitants, and furnishes the principal 
means of support. 



170 

Turpentine is, as our readers are aware, the product 
of the pine tree, of which there are large forests in both 
North and South Carolina. In fact, the pine tree is to 
the states in which it abounds to any considerable 
extent, indirectly what the palm tree is to some oriental 
peoples — food, clothing, bedding, dwellings and firewood. 
It furnishes food and clothing through the revenue 
derived from the sale of turpentine; bedding from the 
pine *' straw " which it annually easts off; lumber from 
which the houses are built from the bodies, and firewood 
from its small limbs and crooked stems. 

The process by which the turpentine is obtained 
from the tree is unique and of interest. Converging 
grooves are cut on the surface of each tree by an instru- 
ment shaped for that purpose, generally on the side 
facing in the direction of the sun. At first only a few of 
these grooves are cut, in order that there may be no 
waste of the flowing turpentine and that the trees may 
not suffer materially and lose all their vitality during a 
single season ; by observing this course, a good, healthy 
tree can be made to do service for many years, until it is 
skinned and scraped almost to the limbs. Beneath these 
converging grooves is cut a " box," which is nothing 
more than a small. pocket-Shaped opening cut into the 
body of the tree for the purpose of receiving the flowing 
turpentine, something after the principle that is followed 
in making maple sugar, except, in the latter case, we 



171 

believe, a hole is bored in the tree and a tube inserted, 
instead of grooving the surface and cutting a box. The 
action of the sun upon the exposed surface causes the 
turpentine to flow and fill the box, which is then dipped 
and put into barrels. The portion dipped from the 
boxes in an unadulterated state is " virgin pure," and 
much more desirable in the market than the "scrapings," 
which are filled with small chips and pine straw, and 
thereby depreciated in value. 

The turpentine is then placed into a still for distilla- 
tion, which is done by heating it to a suitable tempera- 
ture. During this process the vapors arising from the 
contents of the still are passed through a submerged 
" worm," and collected in a vessel containing water, from 
which it is drained ; this constitutes the spirits of tur- 
pentine. The chips and straw floating upon the molten 
turpentine is then skimmed off with a strainer and 
thrown into a pool of water, around which, in the 
writer's boyhood, a small army of urchins generally 
stood, with little black trays under their arms or upon 
their heads, awaiting their "turn" of *' dross," as the 
refuse matter was designated. 

This dross, when ignited, burns with a fierce and 
ardent glow, and is the means of protecting many a poor 
family in the South from the rigors of a harsh winter 
season, such as frequently is known in the Carolinas, 



172 

when ice is formed of sufficient thickness to support the 
weight of a man. 

Another product of these interesting States is their 
peanuts. Let Egypt assert her antiquity, as exhibited 
in her pyramids, obelisks, sphinxes, monster ruins and 
mummies; Greece may boast of her Parthenons and 
treasures of art; Rome display her Coliseum, great 
cathedral and carved pillars — Carolina still rejoices in 
being the chief source of the " festive peanut." These 
nuts are known in the parts where they are produced by 
the various euphonious names of ground-peas, pea-nuts, 
ground-nuts, pinders and gubers. They grow on the 
ground (not on trees, as some suppose,) and are attached 
to a running vine, which bears a small blossom of a deep 
yellow color, about the size of an ordinary English pea- 
blossom. When dug they hang in great clusters, closely 
connected with the roots of the plant, from which they 
are gathered and spread in the sun to dry ; after which 
they are put in bags, when they are ready for the market. 
The parching or roasting process is done in various 
ways, some being done in great ovens, where large quan- 
tities are handled at one roasting; while others are 
roasted by peanut vendors, who stand on the corners 
and at the intersection of streets, to the great delight of 
the small boy and the embarrassed lover. What this 
country would do without the peanut it startles us to 
imagine, since the advent of a circus, county fair or 



173 

Fourth of July celebration without the presence of the 
peanut would be a " barren ideality." 

Sweet potatoes also come in for their share of pat- 
ronage in the Carolinas. Not "Jerse}' Sweets," nor 
such as are raised in the North, but real sweet potatoes, 
as the Spanish, the Bermuda and the yam potatoes 
— such potatoes as, when subjected to the heat of a 
hot oven, crack open and permit some of the liquid 
honey to escape from them, while the hungry little ones, 
who sit by, scarcely repress the flow of saliva until their 
anxiety for one can be relieved. And such large pota- 
toes ! Why, the writer has seen sweet potatoes in the 
"Old North State" as large as an ordinary infant's 
head, weighing several pounds each. They are raised in 
great abundance, and stand in the same relation to the 
poor people down there that the Irish potato does to the 
inhabitants of the Emerald Isle. 

Indian corn is also cultivated, but almost exclusively 
for domestic use. The white variety is preferred, which 
is ground into meal and used with a little salt and water 
for making bread ; flour bread nmong the poorer classes 
being considered a luxury. At times, especially in 
" hog killing time," the character of the corn bread is 
varied by putting into the dough "cracklings," which 
are the browned portions of meat out of which the lard 
has been tried. This " crackling bread " is considered 
by some of these poor people a great delicacy, of which 



174 

they are very fond. At other times they put apples, 
chopped fine, into the dough, and treat the boarders to 
"apple bread," thus in various and sundry simple 
modes varying their scanty supplies. 

With proper attention and experience the Carolinas 
could be made the seat of extensive and profitable grape 
culture, of which there are several very fine varieties. 
The Scuppernong grows, even in its wild state, to a pro- 
digious size, as large, in some instances, as crab apples, 
and possesses a flavor which for delicac}^ is difficult to 
be surpassed. The people there, however, do not seem 
to appreciate the value of their rich possession in this 
vine, and, with a few exceptions, it is neglected and 
allowed to run to waste; just as man^' other of their 
most valuable natural resources of wealth and happi- 
ness are. 

It would not be the part of justice to close this 
chapter without saying a word about the rivers, abound- 
ing in their wealth of fishes, oysters, clams and crabs, 
especially near the coast of the Atlantic. 

About the time that the free colored people of the 
State of North Carolina were seized with a desire of 
leaving that portion of the country and casting their 
lot in the free North, because of the proscriptions and 
constant menaces that afflicted them in their native 
State, the writer's father was asked whether he would 
not accompany some emigrants to the new home in the 



175 

Northwest He answered them by saying, " When ybu 
can transfer the Neuse and Trent rivers, with their con- 
tents, to Ohio, I will go with you ; not before." 

The fishes to be found in these rivers consist in part of 
shad (which is the king of fish for the breakfast table), 
the trout, perch, mullet, drum, pike, herring, sturgeon 
and many others too numerous to be mentioned in a 
paper of this size. Hard-shell and soft shell crabs, 
and lobsters also abound, while just beyond, in the 
sounds, some of the largest, fattest and most delicately 
flavored oysters and clams are to be found that the 
waters upon the face of the earth can afford. We have 
not attempted in the foregoing to give anything purport- 
ing to be a detailed list of all the products of these 
favored states, for their name is legion, and would 
require a book exceeding the size of the one now under 
contemplation to contain even their names. 

In addition to those mentioned, however, as consti- 
tuting a portion of the staple articles, may be mentioned 
some of the forest nuts and fruits, such as the chincapin, 
which is a small nut of the chestnut family, only smaller, 
sweeter and having the shape of a top. The people of 
these states gather them and boil or roast them, when, 
in many instances, they are strung on threads and worn 
around the necks of children, after the manner of beads; 
but like the man who covered himself with a large flap- 



176 

jack upon goifig to bed, the children sometimes dream 
they are hungry, and eat their beads. 

The hickory nut of North Carolina, especially in 
eastern and central portions, to which my attention has 
been principally directed, has a thick^ hard shell and 
small kernel, hence it can bear no comparison to the 
nutritious nut of the scaly bark variety to be found in 
the Northwest. The walnut, however, flourishes in 
great abundance, and is of a fine quality. 

Among the fruits found growing in a state of nature 
may be mentioned the red plum, the yellow plum, the 
cranberry and the persimmon. The three former are 
not strangers to the people of the North, but the latter, 
the persimmon, is not well known. When the persim- 
mon is green its astringent qualities must be tested in 
order to be appreciated, since they set at naught alum 
and other such articles in use among us ; but when ripe 
and mellowed by the frost, they are very sweet and 
pleasant to the taste. They are of the size of an ordi- 
nary plum, perhaps a little larger, and contain a kernel 
within them of the same size and shape as the plum. 
The good matron of the South makes from the persim- 
mon a kind of beer, which, when ready for us, laughs to 
scorn cider, small beer and lager, and is not half so 
injurious in its effects. 

We are now entering the suburbs of Magnolia, our 
place of destination ; we see little of interest to the gen- 



177 

eral reader to be described, hence we will drive directly 
to the home of our relatives, and after resting and 
refreshing ourselves, acquaint our readers more minutely 
with the colored people of the South, and other objects 
of interest. 



TTS 



CHAPTER Xni. 



The Colored People of the South.— Different aasfies.— The 
Plantation Hands.— Their Hahits and Modes of Life. — Corn- 
shucking and Log-rolling Bees. — ^Their Loye of '"Possum and 
8weet-en-tater."— Will they Steal ?— The Colored People of the 
Cities and To¥m8. — General Intelligence among them, and Causes 
Contributing Thereto. — Churches and Schools among them. — 
Efforts of Bad Men to Create Prejudice between Different Classes 
of them.— Education and Wealth will Dispel All. 



Thus far in the course of our narrative we have only 
spoken of the colored element of the South in a general 
way, as it was necessary or convenient to do in order to 
illustrate some of the customs and habits of the whole 
people of that section; but having at length completed 
our journey, and the process of hand-shaking and con- 
gratulations in general being ended, an opportunity is 
now afforded of studying the condition and habits of 
these people in a minuter way, since they are to be seen 
in every Southern city in all the various phases pre- 
sented by them — ^the residents at their homes and places 
of avocation, and the non-residents as they stroll in from 
the neighboring plantations for the purposes of trade or 
recreation. 

Taken as a whole, the colored people of the South 



179 

are a remarkable people, and in some respects, the most 
versatile of habits and disposition of any people with 
which it is the good fortune of the writer to be 
acquainted. They are pervaded with a certain fund of 
good humor and mirthfulness that follows them from the 
cradle to the grave, and like the little girl in an Eastern 
city who was expelled from a scliool because she inces- 
santly laughed, it seems to be a physical impossibility 
for them to repress their laughter, songs, dancing and 
merry-making. Many of them seem to never reach old 
age, if judged by their innocent ways, and we not infre- 
quently find old " Aunties'' and "Uncles " who are just 
as supple and playful as in their youthful days. Nor did 
the bitter oppression incidental to the estate of slavery 
change the fact, for despite it all they managed to snatch 
from their limited hours of rest and refreshment time 
sufficient to sing a song, dance a shuffle or crack a joke, 
to the great merriment and satisfaction of all who beheld 
them. Add to this fact the disposition on their part to 
indulge in exercises of a religious character, interspersed 
with much that was diverting to the mind, and it is not 
difficult to account for the fact that, notwithstanding 
their ill-treatment and debasement by their task-masters, 
they grew from a handful, landed in this country in 
1812, to a vast multitude of nearly four millions of souls 
at the time when the immortal Emancipation Proclama- 
tion was issued by the martyr Abraham Lincoln. 



180 

To travelers along the routes of our great rivers, they 
furnished a continuous fund of amusement and recrea- 
tion, and they were not only willing to give liberally of 
their means for the purpose of eliciting the inimitable 
song, dance or gesture, but some even essayed to mimic 
them, as the basis of many an hour of public divertise- 
ment in places of amusement in distant lands. 

It must not be inferred from the foregoing, however, 
that these people carried their innocent traits to such an 
extent as to deprive them of the sterling qualities of 
man or womanhood — far from it; on the contrary, their 
achievements in the mechanics, agriculture, literature 
and upon the battle field, as recorded by the historian of 
to-day, set at defiance any such conclusion which may 
have been formed and entertained in the mind of any 
one. 

The colored people of the South may be divided into 
two general classes — the plantation hands and the in- 
habitants of commercial centers. We mention the 
plantation hands first because they are the most numer- 
ous body by far, and contitute the physical force of that 
class in the Southern States. These plantation hands 
are, for the greater part, quite dark of complexion (the 
proportion of mixed-blooded colored people being 
infinitely smaller than in the cities); they are strong 
and healthy as to their bodies, and industrious to a 
fault. They have been known to work, during the busy 



181 

season, seven days in the week, (though not from 
choice), and the rising sun seldom finds them in bed. 
They have been accustomed from infancy to the plainest 
diet, such as corn bread, fat bacon or pork, cow peas, 
rice and molasses, together with such fruits as could be 
gathered from the fields and woods, upon which they 
have thriven, being strangers to many of the evils that 
afflict the ficsh in our luxurious centers, and sometimes 
living to ages far beyond the allotted span — a centena- 
rian being no curiosity in their midst. Their diet, 
however, is sometimes varied by the addition of a chicken 
or opossum, of which they are passionately fond. This 
passion on their part for chicken and ^^ 'possum " arises 
not BO much from any constitutional partiality on their 
part, or difference in their tastes and inclinations 
respecting articles of food from the rest of the human 
family^ as from the absence of fresh meat of all kinds, 
the very sight of which is at times sufiScient to excite a 
whole neighborhood. 

The writer recalls an incident in the little village of 
Hudsonville, during his sojourn there, when, upon the 
arrival of a countryman on the Public Square with a 
small carcass of doubtful looking meat, covered over 
with boughs of trees as a protection against the attacks 
of the large blue flies, which were numerous, the 
mania on the part of the villagers to obtain a piece of 



182 

the coveted flesh was so great that one lady, who was 
unable to get any, actually shed tears of sorrow. 

It is not to be wondered at, then, that these people 
are elated over the possession of something to vary the 
monotony of their harsh and unpalatable diet. " 'Pos- 
sum and sweet-en -tater " reach the acme of the planta- 
tion hand's gustatory ambition. Chicken is good; 
squirrel, racoon and rabbit are good ; roast pig is very 
good; but 'Opossum and sweet-en-tater " admit of no 
comparison in the imagination of the poor hungry 
hand. 

"Honey," they will say, *'jes' take dat 'possum an' 
strip off de skin ; hang him outdoors 'til de fros' strikes 
him ; den bring him in de house, put him in de pot an' 
parbile him ; after dat stuff him, lay him in de oven, put 
little pieces of fat meat over him, an' lay sweet-en-taters 
all roun' him; den let him lie dar 'til he gits rite brown; 
take him out; put him on de table! an' X-o-d, h-o-n-e-y! 
DorCt say dem greasy words no more!^^ 

It's no wonder that, at intervals of recreation, they 
will all join in and sing with great enthusiasm that 
remarkable song, commencing with the suggestive lines, . 

" Dat 'possum meat am good an' sweet, 
Kearve him to de hart." 

Among the amusements incidental to plantation life 
the corn-shucking and log-rolling bees stand pre-emi- 
nent. On the former occasions the neighbors all turn 



183 

out and assist each other in shucking their corn. In 
this way large quantities of corn are disposed of at a 
single gathering, without the monotony attending the 
private performance of an equal amount of labor. 
Whiskey, which is the product of corn in that section, 
is freely passed around on such occasions, and is not 
unfrequently the cause of illfecling and disturbance. 
After the work is completed a general good time is 
indulged in, concluding, as a rule, with a dance to the 
notes of a squeaky fiddle, in the hands of one of their 
number, and the patting of such others as are unable to 
restrain their flowing spirits. But the log-rolling par- 
ties carry off the palm for real vigor and romantic effect. 
At these meetings were to be found the vigorous youths 
of all the surrounding region, who assembled, like the 
athletes of ancient Greece at the Olympian games, to 
test their physical prowess and win for themselves repu- 
tations of which they were no less proud. These 
contests occurred at a space upon which lay the logs 
chopped from trees, which had been felled in the process 
of clearing land. The participants generally separated 
themselves into two factions, at the head of each was a 
champion, and the feats of strength and endurance were 
as a rule exhibited in their attempts to out-vie each 
other in lifting at the bar placed under one end of a heavy 
log;- when it sometimes happened that the mate of the 
successful party was unable to raise his end or endure 



184 

to bear it to the pile, which covered him with the dis- 
grace of defeat, while the other was correspondingly 
elated and considered a wonderful man. It was very 
amusing to hear the opposite champions challenge each 
other from the tops of their respective piles, using the 
most exaggerated and ridiculous expressions imagi- 
nable. Such expressions as the following were generally 
indulged in on such occasions, being shouted at their 
utmost pitch of voice : 

First champion — " Oh, you can't rule me !" 
Second champion — '* You can't knock a chip off my 
shoulder!" 

First champion — " I'm yer lion tamer!" 
Second champion — " Here's yer alligater eater !" 
First champion — " Woman never had me !" 
Second champion — " Man, he never got me!" 
First champion — "7 come in gold moldsP* 
And thus they would proceed until, their mission 
being accomplished they, like the corn-shuckers, would 
finish the night with music, feasting and dancing. 

At times, however, the utmost good- will did not pre- 
vail to the close, and fighting and bloodshed would take 
the place of music and feasting, owing to the too free 
use of strong drink. 

Efforts hiEive been made from time to time by those 
who have been more industrious in exposing the weak- 
nesses of the colored race than in exalting their virtues. 



185 

to impress the belief upon the popular mind that the 
average plantation hand will engage in little acts of 
peculation ; that is to say, steal. 

The writer has enjoyed unusually favorable facilities 
of acquainting himself with every phase of character 
pertaining to this class of people, and after careful ob- 
servation, extending over a long period of time, he feels 
authorized in repelling the accusation as a base- slander 
upon the fair fame of one of the most patient, indus- 
trious and honorable classes of people that is to be found 
upon the American continent. It is true the colored 
people s|X)ken of have within their number men who, 
like their white brethren, will commit acts of violence 
against the property of their neighbors, sometimes 
indulging in peculations the very insignificance of which 
are well calculated to call down upon them the scorn and 
ridicule of the community in which they reside, such as 
the taking of pigs, chickens, seed cotton and the like; 
but these acts are no more frequent than may be found 
among some classes of the white people of both sections, 
with this mitigating feature — ^that, when the plantation 
hand of the South relieves a planter of a fat pullet, pig, 
or even a few pounds of seed cotton, he merely indulges 
his disposition to obtain a pittance of what they have 
robbed him and his ancestors of^ and generally for the 
purpose of satisfying the cravings of hunger. 

The colored men of the Southern plantations have 



186 

made the South what it is, have produced four-fifths of 
the cotton, sugar, rice and tobacco which for many years 
constituted the chief articles of commerce, and for all 
this they have received no compensation; they have to 
this day an equitable claim on every foot of land, 
every horse, cow, pig or chicken to be found on Southern 
soil, owned by ex- slaveholders, and for them to occa- 
sionally assert their right of redemption is not steal- 
ing. 

The colored people of the cities and towns are a 
heterogeneous mass. They are to be found of all shades 
of color known among the races of men — black, yellow, 
cream colored, white, and all the intermediate shades 
Some of them boast that they are of pure African 
extraction — not mongrels; while others rejoice in the 
possession of a very liberal allowance of " pure white 
blood," and use every means in their power to gain 
recognition by their white brethren. There are those, 
indeed, who make it their boast that they have de- 
scended, on their father's side, from some of the first 
white families of the South, and claim recognition on 
the ground of consanguinity, referring to the well- 
known family resemblance as a proof of the cor- 
rectness of their assertion. Nor must it be con- 
cluded, as is supposed by some, that the fact of a 
colored person having his blood mixed is necessar- 
ily a proof of illegitimacy, for, on the contrary, the 



187 

greater portion of the mixed-blooded colored people of 
the South are the fruits of legitimate matrimonial 
alliances formed among the different shades of the race 
during the past and present generations. Much refine- 
ment of manners and real intellectual culture is also 
discernable among the colored people who inhabit the 
cities and towns of the South, since they were in times 
past not only more favored with respect to opportunities 
of gaining information than the poor plantation hands, 
but the relations they bore the wealthy whites — as 
domestics and servants in other capacities — were to them 
a source of great profit in increasing their knowledge. 
Besides this, the free colored people, who were in the 
State of North Carolina permitted to acquire property 
and send their children to school, to a limited extent, em- 
ulating the example of the intelligent white people, edu- 
cated their children somewhat,collected libraries and read 
such newspapers of the day as they could get possession of, 
thereby becoming, in some instances, the equals and even 
superiors of many of the white citizens. Being great 
imitators and thoroughly Americanized in their ideas 
and ambitions, they vied with the more wealthy portion 
of society in clothing themselves in the latest styles 
and furnishing their houses with modern improvements. 
The barbers of the South were also a prolific source of 
information to the rest of colored society ; since, by vir- 
tue of their calling, they were brought into the presence 



188 

of the leading statesmen, lawyers and politicians of that 
section, who frequently did not hesitate to discuss 
questions of State and National polity in their pres- 
ence. 

The mechanics, as well as the domestics of the ^outh, 
were also composed of this class of people; in fact, the 
colored people were the intimate attendants and supports 
of the property-holding element in every department of 
life. They were indispensable at the birth, depended 
upon at the wedding, and in the hour of death the 
prayers and groans of some trusted ''Aunty" or 
"Uncle" furnished a safe escort for them to "that 
bourne from which no traveler returns." 

In some cities, during the slave-holding era, there 
were no distinct churches for the colored people, and 
they were provided for in the galleries of the various 
white congregations, where the pious eye of the master 
could note their movements. 

The writer attended one of these churches during the 
first Sabbath of his sojourn in Hudsonville, to acommo- 
date a friend, but the visit was not repeated. The 
entrance in this instance was made at the rear end of the 
structure, and after being seated in the filthy gallery, we 
were denied even a glance from the preacher's eyes. 

In the large cities, however, the colored people are 
provided with churches and ministers of their own selec- 
tion, where they worship God according to the dictates 



189 

of their own consciences; this is especially true of them 
since the war. 

I regret to say that on various and sundry occasions 
in the past, short-sighted men of the demagogue stamp, 
for the satisfaction of their own personal ambition, 
have endeavored to create a feeling of prejudice on the 
part of the dark against the light-colored people 
in some parts of the South, by representing to them that 
their interests were of a conflicting nature, and endeav- 
oring to lead innocent persons of a darker hue to 
believe that their light-colored brethren were aspiring 
to monopolize all the chief places of honor and emolu- 
ment. Be it said to the honor of the masses of the dark- 
colored people of the South, that their good judgment 
has restrained them from falling in with these wicked 
men in their dangerous designs, and led them to ignore 
all such propositions made to them. 

Before the abolition of slavery in the South there was 
an element of society to be found there which has since 
lost its identity by being absorbed or merged into 
the one general class recognized as the colored people of 
the South. I refer to the body known before the war as 
"free negroes," or in their vernacular, "free niggers," 
This was the most hopelessly forlorn class, in some 
respects, of any we have mentioned, if a people hated 
and despised, slighted and scorned, neglected and 
abused, may be referred to as being forlorn, 



190 

for the foregoing adjectives but faintly describe their 
unenviable condition in that inhospitable Southern 
land. These people were of all colors, sexes and condi- 
tions, and their origin was various. It was a maxim of 
the common law, which was strictly adhered to in nearly 
all the slaveholding states, that the condition of the off- 
spring followed that of the mother; hence, in all cases 
where the condition of the mother was that of a free 
woman the offspring was born free; it mattered not how 
her freedom was obtained, provided it was in accordance 
with the provisions of the law. If a woman of " pure 
white blood " cohabited with a person having a " visible 
admixture of African blood," the offspring resulting from 
that union was born and remained free, because the 
mother, being a white person, was, ipso facto^ free in 
the South, and the condition of her child followed that 
of herself; and, strange as it may seem, such unions were 
not unknown, even in the palmiest days of the ^' peculiar 
institution," nor, indeed, were they sufficiently rare of 
occurrence to attract especial interest or occasion 
unusual remark. 

The writer is conversant with a case where a planta- 
tion hand, of the darkest hue and most uncouth 
appearance begat offspring by each of the two daughters 
of his master; and these two mulatto children, being 
children of one father and of sisters, were thereby half 
sisters and cousins (a very strange relationship), were 



191 

reared under the same roof as the rest of the family — 
living to be almost centenarians, and to look back upon 
a numerous progeny of free colored people. 

In other instances, good and faithful maidservants, 
who had given the better portion of their life in the 
service of their owners, rendering services of peculiar 
merit — such, for instance, as rearing a family of children 
from infancy to years of discretion, and nursing the 
sick — were manumitted, together with their children, 
who, with their progeny, thereafter were free. And 
some who were so fortunate as to be married to free 
men, who were of industrious, frugal and ambitious 
dispositions, were purchased by their husbands, which 
made them and their children, born thereafter, free. 

In the foregoing, and other ways, which we will not 
now weary the patience of the reader by relating, a very 
numerous population of free colored people came into 
existence, and remained up to the era of general emanci- 
pation in the South. Having a visible admixture of 
African blood in their veins, they were of course rele- 
gated to the same social status as the slaves, except 
that of bondage. They were ignored by the whites as 
associates, however intelligent or refined they might be; 
and although in a few instances (very rare) slight modifi- 
cations of this rigid rule took place, still the writer has 
yet to be informed of a case where it was wholly abolished. 

They inhabited commercial centers chiefly for the 



192 

reason that being, as a rule, not the owners of land for 
agricultural purposes, they resorted to mechanical pur- 
suits for a liTelihood; in which they became expert as 
time progressed, and furnished the architectural skill of 
that whole section in the constructing of buildings and 
bridges of various kinds, and even some of the fleetest 
ships that ploughed the waters. Another reason that 
may be assigned for their tendency towards cities and 
towns is the fact that they were the objects of suspicion 
and distrust in the rural districts on the part of the 
slaveholders, who feared that their proximity to and 
association with their slaves would contaminate them 
(the slaves), by creating in their minds a feeling of 
jealousy and restlessness under their oppressed condi- 
tion. 

Being deprived of the right of sitting on juries and 
giving their sworn testimony in all litigation where their 
interests conflicted with those of white men, they were 
at the mercy of the most unprincipled rogues and liber- 
tines; and unless they secured the friendly aid of some 
white guardian or patron, they were liable not only to be 
robbed of their hard-earned possessions and deprived of 
life and liberty by means of the perjured statements of 
covetous persons of the other race, but in many 
instances the most outrageous and infamous crimes, 
which shock every fibre in the body of a real man, were 
perpetrated upon helpless females, when no redress 



193 

could be had, the only witnesses to them being persons 
of color. 

In some sections of the South these poor people were 
compelled to purchase badges at fabulous rates and 
wear them, in order to distinguish themselves from their 
slave brethren ; and although they, in this way and by 
paying a direct poll-tax, as well as the usual tax on 
their meagre possessions, were constantly enriching the 
public treasury, yet they were not permitted to vote for 
their representatives, being in this respect in a worse 
condition than the Indians, who pay no taxes. 

In times of public alarm these free colored people 
were objects upon which the lower class of the white 
element of the South vented their spite, since they were 
entirely defenseless, being forbidden by law to carry fire- 
arms, or even to keep them within their dwellings, and, 
as we have remarked, had little or no redress at law. 
This was especially true of them at a time when a real 
or imaginary revolt of the slaves was threatened. The 
writer will never forget a reign of terror that was inau- 
gurated and maintained during the Fremont-Buchanan 
campaign of 1856. The impression had in some mys- 
terious manner become prevalent amongst the slaves 
that if Fremont was elected President of the United 
States their freedom would be assured. Where this idea 
came from or how it gained currency amongst them, 
nobody knew; but it existed, nevertheless, and created 



194 

in the minds of the more cautious of the slave-holders 
an apprehension that in the event of a failure on the 
part of the slaves to realize their expectations, acts of 
violence might be indulged in by them. Laboring under 
this mental delusion, and being filled with such a degree 
of cowardice as their guilty actions naturally begat in 
them, they organized bodies of midnight marauders, 
known as patrols, who, during the night season, scoured 
the suburbs of the ancient town in which we lived, 
striking terror to the hearts of the defenseless free col- 
ored people, who had not even masters to protect them, 
and in many instances committing depredations that 
even a savage would blush to acknowledge. 

We almost shudder to recall an eventful night when 
an ominous knock was heard upon the door of our 
humble cot. We were all alone. Mother was a poor 
widow, her fatherless children were all quite young, 
the eldest not yet having reached puberty. We made 
no response. Again that harsh knock rang upon the 
midnight air, causing our hearts to beat almost audibly 
within our breasts. Not yet did we deign a response. 
Then there fell upon our ears a harsh, cruel voice: 
« Open this door, G— d d — ^n you ! or we'll bust it in !" 

"John," said our dear mother, " get up and see what 
they want. I guess they are the patrols." Then, ad- 
dressing herself to the marauders, she said: '^ All right; 



195 

wait a minute until we make a light, and we'll let you 
in." 

A match was struck; an old-fashioned tallow dip 
was lit, and then the writer, clothed in his robe de nuitj 
with fear and trembling, drew the bar. A half dozen 
uncouth, desperate-looking characters invaded the prem- 
ises, accompanied by one or two men who laid claim to 
some degree of respectability, and who, upon discovering 
that they were only disgracing themselves by trespass- 
ing upon the premises of a lonely widow and her little 
brood, were lavish of their apologies and vacated with- 
out delay. The remainder, after passing through the 
house and glancing curiously at every object that 
confronted them, failed to find an}i^hing that could be 
construed into a firearm, and left, to return no more. 

Our neighbors, however, were less fortunate^ for it 
happened that an old fowling-piece, a relic of the past, 
was discovered upon their premises, which was the 
direct cause of procuring for its unfortunate owner 
thirty-nine lashes upon his naked back, from a cow-hide 
in the hands of one of that infernal clan. Nor was that 
all, for, not being satisfied with fiogging the husband, 
they essayed to insult the wife, and when she resisted 
and attempted to resent the insult, they assaulted her in 
a most outrageous manner. 

For a colored man to assault a white man in those 
days was to commit an unpardonable offense, which 



196 

blood alone could atone for — it mattered not how great 
soever the provocation might be, or how just the colored 
man's cause. We distinctly remember an incident that 
took place in the State of North Carolina in the latter 
part of the 3'ear 1856, when the writer was a boy, that 
made a lasting impression upon his mind and caused 
him to remark to his kind mother that if she did not 
sell her home and leave the South, he would leave just 
as soon as his age and means would admit of it. The 
incident was as follows : 

A large, muscular man, having a very slight admix- 
ture of African blood in his veins, drove into the town 

of with a load of small casks or kegs which he 

had made to barter away for a few groceries. He went 
to one of the leading merchants of the place and ofiered 
his kegs for sale, and a trade was readily effected; but 
during during the course of the conversation that 
ensued, the capacity of the kegs being called in question, 
a dispute arose between the merchant and the country- 
man, when the former stigmatized the latter as a liar; 
the rustic retorted by hurling the same epithet at the 
grocer, when the latter struck the customer a violent 
blow in the face with his fist, who had no sooner received 
it than he returned it with interest, felling the merchant 
to the floor. Immediately the cry went around: "A 
nigger has struck a white man ; kill him ! kill the d — n 
nigger!" and a crowd such as were in those days always 



197 

to be found loitering around stores and wharves in that 
section, without further inquiry fell upon the countryman 
and attempted to knock him down. He was equal to the 
emergency, however, and had he enjoyed even the sem- 
blance of fair play, would have succeeded in whipping 
all his assailants; but finally, when it became apparent 
that he was getting the better of the cowardly crew, a 
sailor in their midst drew a bar of iron, and striking 
him a blow on the head with it, felled him to the ground. 
Once in that position his clothing was torn from his 
body, his arms and legs pinioned, and his bare back 
flogged with a " cowhide '' until the blood ran from it, 
and the gashes made in his flesh by the cruel strokes 
presented a ghastly spectacle as they gaped open. For 
this colored man there was no redress; indeed, he was 
only too glad to escape with his life, and drag back 
again his mangled, bleeding body to the heart-broken 
wife and grief-stricken children from whom he had 
parted a few hours previous with hopes beating high. 

The writer labors under the embarrassment derived 
from the fear that there may be those who will read 
these recitals of oppression and injury inflicted upon the 
colored people of the South with incredulity, and imagine 
them to be the productions of a dishonest imagination. 
If such should be the case, the reader has only to refer 
the matter to any one of the thousands of well-informed 



198 

colored citizens who are to be found in all our cities 
and towns of the North for a verification, not only by 
their verbal testimony, but by their scarred and crippled 
bodies that are yet to be seen. The half has not been 
told. 

What the colored people of the South need at the 
present time to raise them up to an equal plain with the 
better class of the white people there is a fair opportu- 
nity in the race of life to earn and accumulate money, 
and good educational facilities for their children. 

Thanks to the large-heartedness of the people of the 
North, there are in some sections of that benighted 
land a few educational institutions that will compare 
favorably with some of the best in the land; where* 
young men and women of color are fast preparing them- 
selves to enter the higher walks of life. Of such are 
Fisk University and Hampton Institute, to say nothing 
of many others less pretentious. 

The law of the land can do so much for us as to 
remove all obstructions from our way that are obnox- 
ious to its provisions; but no more. It can not take 
us from under the ban of prejudice any more than it 
can the pauper of another race. 

Our destiny lies to a very great extent in our 
own hands, and^the quicker we recognize that fact the 
more rapid will be our progress upward. If the 



199 

recognition and preferment of races of other people is 
governed by their wealth, intelligence and integrity, by 
these same means, and these alone, must we seek 
and expect to win success in life; and not by a state 
of inertia, or a period spent in bewailing our unfortu- 
nate lot. '^ A word to the wise is sufficient^' 



CONCLUSION. 



Past and Present of " Magnolia/' — Sherman's Boys and Har- 
dee. — ^** No Law to Compel One Man to * Mister ' Another." — The 
Results of the Trip. — Eeturning North. 



We must now hasten to a conclusion of our narrative, 
since we have already occupied more time and space 
in relating it than we anticipated at the beginning. 
Suffice it to say, then, that the town of Magnolia, while 
possessing a greater population than Hudsonville and 
wearing somewhat of a metropolitan appearance, did not 
fully meet our expectations. £ven to Jones and Brown, 
our companions of the route, who had resided there in 
former times during its prosperity, scarcely recognized 
in its charred and dilapidated appearance the Magnolia 
of the past, when business was flourishing and there was 
abundance of labor with fair remuneration for all, except 
those who were enslaved. Instead of scores of drays 
and carts being employed in hauling the large deposits 
of merchandise to and fro from the steamboat landing; 
now half a dozen vehicles could scarcely find employ- 
ment; where formerly a numerous body of mechanics 
were wont to reside in the midst of a plentiful supply of 
all the necessaries of life, we at length found only a 



201 

tithe of them, striving to eke out an existence by the 
performance of such odd jobs as could be found in a 
place where the erection of substantial buildings gave 
place to a few repairs to such as were already in 
existence to keep them in suitable condition for use, 
and the banks that once flourished there for the accom- 
modation of a healthy trade, were to be found no more, 
but in their stead one petty institution. In fact, decay 
and blight seemed to have seized upon all things. The 
people who inhabited the place appeared to be discour- 
aged and lost to all ambition, even to repair the sad 
ravages that the events of the war had entailed. 

Formerly this place was the seat of learning, refine- 
ment and wealth for all that section of the great State 
of North Carolina, and the unsophisticated rustic of the 
interior who had the ambition to make it a visit, opened 
his eyes in astonishment as he gazed at the exterior of 
the capacious buildings to be found there, and the riches 
as displayed in the show-windows and on the streets ; in 
short, it was the commercial center from which all the 
country around, within a radius of a hundred miles, 
drew its supplies, and it was no uncommon thing before 
the war to see her streets in the vicinity of the Court 
and Market House, crowded with the vehicles of 
planters and small farmers, who had traveled many 
miles to visit this emporium for the purpose of purchas- 
ing or exchanging wares. 



160 

dip it out of a tin box and eat it, or rub it, as it is called, 
the idea being that of rubbing or cleaning the teeth with 
it, which is only another name for eating it. They pre- 
fer a stick about ten inches in length, from a birch or 
black-jack tree, whose fibres are fine and tough, capable 
of being chewed into a little brush at one end, and with 
these sticking out of their mouths, they will gad the 
streets and gossip by the hour. 

The men will have their whiskey, and rather than be 
deprived of it, they scour the country in search of 
it, and part with everything except their dog and gun in 
exchange for it; the pipe and plug tobacco are necessary 
accessories, of course. 

No adequate conception can be formed by a stranger 
to their condition, of the vast gulf that separates this 
class of people from their wealthy brethren, and to 
observe the scorn and disdain visited upon them by the 
rich, one not informed with regard to all the circum- 
stances would mistake them for a species of serfs, rather 
than American citizens of "pure white blood," clothed 
in all their constitutional rights. For this reason any 
effort on the part of one of them to arise from his humil- 
iated station of life and assert his manhood is attended 
with such embarrassments and obstacles at every step as 
would dishearten an}'^ but the most determined. 

Then the avenues leading to wealth and preferment 
are difficult of access, especially to a boy or man whose 



161 

education has been neglected from his birth. His first 
move towards bettering his condition was generally to 
get a small piece of land, an undertaking attended with 
peculiar hardships to him, because in that section of the 
South most of the land that was of any value was 
owned in large tracts by men of wealth, who often exact- 
ed the last farthing before they would part with it; and 
then, being ignorant, the poor white, like his freedman 
brother, was at the mercy of the crafty vendor, who fre- 
quently defrauded him of his hard-earned means and 
left him in a worse condition than at first. However, 
having obtained a small piece of land., his next move was 
to get a substantial house, which he did by reducing the 
allowance of food and other essentials at home. It was 
a hard lot, but necessity, stern and unyielding, demanded 
the sacrifice and it had to be made, or else an entire life 
of want and disgrace stared him in the face. Having 
once obtained a piece of land and a house, his ambition 
generally led him to aspire to the possession of a slave; 
if this point could be attained, then indeed would his 
success in his undertaking be assured. For several 
years, however, he contented himself with hiring a man 
to assist him, whom he generally managed to make earn 
all that was paid for him, until his fund being increased 
by the sale of a few bales of cotton each year, he reached 
the goal of his ambition, made the bold venture and pur- 
chased him, generally a woman or old man, but a slave 



162 

none the less. He then born a very close relation to the 
man of whom it is said : 

" He had one male attendant, thin and lean, 

Like Borneo's Mantuan apothecary ; 
Who daily swept his dusty office clean, 

And summed up his accounts with caution wary ; 
In short, was this factotum every way 
Burdened with labor and but little pay/' 

He then began to put od airs. At times he would say : 
'* Boy, look at me! I'm your master!" At others, meeting 
some of his former companions on the road, his attention 
would be absorbed in considering something in another 
direction. But the greater portion of his time would be 
spent in aping the manners and st3'le of his wealthy 
neighbors, and trying to gain from them one smile of 
recognition. He would hire a pew in church and have 
his family attend regularly, with the vain hope that 
those aristocratic grandees would deign to notice them ; 
but, alas, how often were their hearts made to bleed 
within them by reason of the cold, heartless treat- 
ment they received. Nothing daunted, however, if he 
were composed of the proper material^ he persevered, and 
continued to add to his landed possessions and increase 
the number of his slaves, until finally success attended 
his efforts and he found himself a wealthy man in full 
fellowship with his neighbors, disdaining to associate 
with the "poor white trash " from whom he sprung. 



163 

Some very illustrious men, whose names have graced 
the highest positions within the gift of the people, have 
sprung from that unfortunate class of people. Abraham 
Lincoln was a poor white of the South ; but his parents 
had the good sense and moral courage to leave Kentucky 
and go to the great Northwest ; had they not, in all prob- 
ability a bright intellect and great soul would have been 
buried in obscurity. Andrew Johnson was one of these 
poor whites, uneducated up to manhood, but by some 
fortuitous circumstances he gained political preferment 
and lived to be President of the United States. Henry 
Clay was a poor mill boy of the South, but ascended to 
a senatorial position, where he won undying fame. 
Besides these, many others could be mentioned who 
conquered all opposition and forght their way to 
wealth and honor, thereby proving to every one that is 
oppressed and degraded by caste and povert}-, " Where 
there is a will there is a way.'' 



CHAPTEK XII. 



Products of the Carolinas. — Cotton. — Turpentine. — PeanutR. — 
Sweet Potatoes, etc. — Forest Fruits. — " Chincapins." — Hickory- 
nuts. — Persimmons. — Grape Culture. — Fishes, Oysters, etc. 



As in commercial and social pursuits the South is 
more than two generations behind the other sections of 
the United States, so in respect to her agricultural tools 
and modes of procedure she is, as compared with them, 
in a state of darkness such as carries the mind far back 
into the era of the wooden plow, and other instruments 
of medieval farming. 

The people cultivating the soil throughout the region 
spoken of by us do not seem to appreciate tlie value of 
land, judging from the immense waste that is permitted 
in this respect, and the lack of interest displayed by 
them in improving what they have under cultivation, or 
in appropriating to tlieir use the hidden treasures con- 
tained therein; for instead of keeping down the rank 
weeds that are apt to grow around the margin and in 
the corners of their fields, and plowing deep into the 
soil in order to turn up the treasures in the shape of 
rich loam, they content themselves with skimming upon 
the surface, merely breaking the crust, and gleaning 



165 

therefrom half a crop instead of a bounteous harvest. 
Wh}' the husbandmen there persist in this unprofitable 
mode of agriculture is difficult to be determined, unless it 
arises from the force of habit, being one of the rich 
legacies bequeathed to the South by the institution of 
slaver}', which she has not as yet been able to dispose 
of. 

The foregoing remarks do not apply, however, so 
much to the production of the cotton plant as to cereals 
and other species of produce, since, cotton being their 
staple product, upon which all their hopes, ambitions 
and means of support are based, the}' have brought into 
requisition in the cultivation of it more than ordinary 
skill and energy; and, besides, the cotton plant does not 
require the same amount or quality of cultivation that 
is demanded by other products. 

The cotton yield of the Southern States at the 
present time is enormous, and it onl}' requires a glance 
at a few figures for one to api)reciate the fact that under 
any economical and liberal policy on the part of the 
South it could be made a source of great wealth to that 
section, and, as king of commerce, caused to demand 
the homage of the civilized nations of the earth. 
It is estimated b}' competent judges that the yield for 
the past season was not far from the gross amount of 
five millions of bales, which at a fair valuation of fifty 
dollars a bale would reach the enormous sum of two 



166 

hundred and fifty millions of dollars — an amount which 
in ten years time would be sufficient to have paid off the 
whole national debt, incurred by reason of the Southern 
Rebellion. 

Cotton was not originall.y the staple article of the 
South, for its cultivation and preparation for the spindle 
and loom was fraught with so much expense as to pre- 
clude the idea of making it an article of much profit to 
the planter. The territory comprised in the original 
thirteen States suitable for its cultivation was meagre, 
comparatively speaking, and the modern appliances for 
separating the seeds from the fibre not having been 
invented, the operation had to be performed by hand, 
which was both slow and expensive. Under these cir- 
cumstances it is not to be wondered at that it occupied 
a place secondar}^ to other products which have since 
given place to its culture. But the invention of the 
cotton-gin by Whitney, and the spinning-jenny by 
Hargreaves; the application of steam to the operation 
of machinery by Watt, and the cession to the United 
States of the Florida territory, together with the acqui- 
sition of all that vast extent of land known as the 
Louisiana purchase, and the Texas territory, the fruit of 
the Mexican war, made the production of cotton not 
only easy but profitable, and at once gave it a prominence 
in the commercial world that time has only tended to 
increase. 



167 

The proceRS of its cultivation as followed by the 
Southern planter is very eas}', and entails no consider- 
able expense; any one having a few acres of land and a 
sufficient amount of money to purchase a small shovel- 
plow and a few bags of guano for manure, being compe- 
tent to engage in it, provided he possesses the physical 
abilit}' to handle a hoe about ten inches in width. Of 
course it is always better to possess a horse, mule, 
steer, or beast of some kind to draw the plow and assist 
in the ordinary routine work, but I have known several 
instances where determined men of great muscular abil- 
ity and powers of endurance have succeeded in raising a 
small crop without anything of the kind mentioned, 
beyond the hiring of an animal for a few days to do the 
original breaking of the ground. In several instances 
the writer has seen freed men harnessed to the little plow, 
breaking the soil between the rows after the plants had 
gained a few weeks' growth. The ground being broken 
and the shallow drills being formed, the next step 
towards raising a crop of cotton is to scatter a little 
guano along them, a thing which none but the very 
poorest class of planters will fail to do unless their land 
is phenomenal for richness, in the localities referred to. 
This is done by the plantation hands, who for that pur- 
pose don a suit made of bagging, or some other very 
cheap material, and cover their heads, since the dust 
escaping from this greatly esteemed fertilizer possesses 



168 

a most nauseating, pungent odor, and can be smelt at 
remote distances from where it is stored when the wind 
is favorable or unfavorable therefor. The guano is 
carried in a haversack, hung around the neck, and dis- 
tributed through long trumpet-shaped tin tubes, held in 
one hand of the planter, who grabs it out of the bag 
with the other. The greatest economy is practised in 
the use of guano, for its cost is considerable and its 
virtues are great, a teaspoonful of it being a liberal 
allowance for a hill of corn, and a slight sprinkling of 
the dust along a drill — just enough to be seen — sufficing 
for cotton. Should too much be used there would be 
great danger of losing the crop from an excess of heat 
caused thereby, unless the season were a wet one. 

Cotton seed is also considered a most excellent fertil- 
izer, standing in this respect next to guano; hence they 
are treasured up and highly prized by those who possess 
them. Following the act of scattering the fertilizer comes 
that of sowing the seed (for the seed is literally sowed, 
not planted in hills as corn and sweet potatoes are), and 
when they are up and about an inch in heigh t, the pro 
cess of "chopping out" begins, which consists in chop- 
ping out with a broad hoe the growing plants, so as to 
leave spaces between them of from ten to twelve inches, 
according to the strength of the soil and the judgment of 
the planter. When this act is performed nothing more 
remains to be done except to keep the plants free from 



169 

weeds until they are large and strong enough to over- 
power them, when they are supported by having earth 
drawn up to them so as to form a little hill, which is 
called " laying by." 

The planter then takes a rest, sees that his gin and 
press are in good condition, attends camp-meetings, pic- 
nics and political demonstrations, where he fraternizes 
with his neighbors over the jovial " watermillion.^^ 

I'he plant bears beautiful pink blossoms, which give 
place to the boll containing the cotton. To appreciate 
the appearance of a cotton field filled with plants, the 
bursting bolls of which invite the agile pickers, one 
must be present upon the spot. The scene may be com- 
pared, but not fairly described, and even the imagination 
of the most poetic mind must fail to do it justice. 

After picking, the cotton is ginned, a process by 
means of which the seeds are separated from the fibre 
without injury to it. Pressing and baling complete the 
process, and it is then ready to be sent to the North or 
the continent of Europe, to be manufactured into fabrics, 
which the South repurchases at a greatly enhanced value 
to clothe her people with. 

Another article of commerce produced in the Caro- 
linas is turpentine, and, in fact, in some sections of those 
states it almost monopolizes the attention of a large 
portion of the inhabitants, and furnishes the principal 
means of support. 



170 

Turpentine is, as our readers are aware, the product 
of the pine tree, of which there are large forests in both 
North and South Carolina. In fact, the pine tree is to 
the states in which it abounds to any considerable 
extent, indirectly what the palm tree is to some oriental 
peoples — food, clothing, bedding, dwellings and firewood. 
It furnishes food and clothing through the revenue 
derived from the sale of turpentine; bedding from the 
pine " straw " which it annually easts off; lumber from 
which the houses are built from the bodies, and firewood 
from its small limbs and crooked stems. 

The process by which the turpentine is obtained 
from the tree is unique and of interest. Converging 
grooves are cut on the surface of each tree by an instru- 
ment shaped for that purpose, generally on the side 
facing in the direction of the sun. At first only a few of 
these grooves are cut, in order that there may be no 
waste of the flowing turpentine and that the trees may 
not suffer materially and lose all their vitality during a 
single season; by observing this course, a good, healthy 
tree can be made to do service for many years, until it is 
skinned and scraped almost to the limbs. Beneath these 
converging grooves is cut a " box," which is nothing 
more than a small, pocket-shaped opening cut into the 
body of the tree for the purpose of receiving the flowing 
turpentine, something after the principle that is followed 
in making maple sugar, except, in the latter case, we 



171 

believe, a hole is bored in the tree and a tube inserted, 
instead of grooving the surface and cutting a box. The 
action of the sun upon the exposed surface causes the 
turpentine to flow and fill the box, which is then dipped 
and put into barrels. The portion dipped from the 
boxes in an unadulterated state is *' virgin pure," and 
much more desirable in the market than the ^^scrapings/' 
which are filled with small chips and pine straw, and 
thereby depreciated in value. 

The turpentine is then placed into a still for distilla- 
tion, which is done by heating it to a suitable tempera- 
ture. During this process the vapors arising from the 
contents of the still are passed through a submerged 
" worm," and collected in a vessel containing water, from 
which it is drained ; this constitutes the spirits of tur- 
pentine. The chips and straw floating upon the molten 
turpentine is then skimmed off with a strainer and 
thrown into a pool of water, around which, in the 
writer's boyhood, a small army of urchins generally 
stood, with little black trays under their arms or upon 
their heads, awaiting their " turn " of *• dross," as the 
refuse matter was designated. 

This dross, when ignited, burns with a fierce and 
ardent glow, and is the means of protecting many a poor 
family in the South from the rigors of a harsh winter 
season, such as frequently is known in the Carolinas, 



172 

when ice is formed of sufficient thickness to support tlie 
weight of a man. 

Another product of these interesting States is their 
peanuts. Let Egypt assert her antiquity, as exhibited 
in her pyramids, obelisks, sphinxes, monster ruins and 
mummies; Greece may boast of her Parthenons and 
treasures of art; Rome display her Coliseum, great 
cathedral and carved pillars — Carolina still rejoices in 
being the chief source of the " festive peanut." These 
nuts are known in the parts where they are produced by 
the various euphonious names of ground-peas, pea-nuts, 
ground-nuts, pinders and gubers. They grow on the 
ground (not on trees, as some suppose,) and are attached 
to a running vine, which bears a small blossom of a deep 
yellow color, about the size of an ordinarj- English pea- 
blossom. When dug they hang in great clusters, closely 
connected with the roots of the plant, from which they 
are gathered and spread in the sun to dry; after which 
they are put in bags, when they are ready for the market 
The parching or roasting process is done in various 
ways, some being done in great ovens, where large quan- 
tities are handled at one roasting; while others are 
roasted by peanut vendors, who stand on the corners 
and at the intersection of streets, to the great delight of 
the small boy and the embarrassed lover. What this 
country would do without the peanut it startles us to 
imagine, since the advent of a circus, county fair or 



173 

Fourth of July celebration without the presence of the 
peanut would be a *' barren ideality." 

Sweet potatoes also come in for their share of pat- 
ronage in the Carolinas. Not "Jersey Sweets," nor 
such as are raised in the North, but real sweet potatoes, 
as the Spanish, the Bermuda and the 3'am potatoes 
— such potatoes as, when subjected to the heat of a 
hot oven, crack open and permit some of the liquid 
honey to escape from them, while the hungry little ones, 
who sit by, scarcely repress the flow of saliva until their 
anxiety for one can be relieved. And such large pota- 
toes ! Why, the writer has seen sweet potatoes in the 
"Old North State" as large as an ordinary infant's 
head, weighing several pounds each. They are raised in 
great abundance, and stand in the same relation to the 
poor people down there that the Irish potato does to the 
inhabitants of the Emerald Isle. 

Indian corn is also cultivated, but almost exclusively 
for domestic use. The white variety is preferred, which 
is ground into meal and used with a little salt and water 
for making bread ; flour bread among the poorer classes 
being considered a luxury. At times, especially in 
" hog killing time," the character of the corn bread is 
varied by putting into the dough "cracklings," which 
are the browned portions of meat out of which the lard 
has been tried. This " crackling bread " is considered 
by some of these poor people a great delicacy, of which 



I 



174 

they are very fond. At other times they put apples, 
chopped fine, into the dough, and treat the boarders to 
"apple bread," thus in various and sundry simple 
modes varying their scanty supplies. 

With proper attention and experience the Carolinas 
could be made the seat of extensive and profitable grape 
culture, of which there are several very fine varieties. 
The Scuppernong grows, even in its wild state, to a pro- 
digious size, as large, in some instances, as crab apples, 
and possesses a flavor which for delicac}'^ is difficult to 
be surpassed. The people there, however, do not seem 
to appreciate the value of their rich possession in this 
vine, and, with a few exceptions, it is neglected and 
allowed to run to waste; just as many other of their 
most valuable natural resources of wealth and happi- 
ness are. 

It would not be the part of justice to close this 
chapter without saying a word about the rivers, abound- 
ing in their wealth of fishes, oysters, clams and crabs, 
especially near the coast of the Atlantic. 

About the time that the free colored people of the 
State of North Carolina were seized with a desire of 
leaving that portion of the country and casting their 
lot in the free North, because of the proscriptions and 
constant menaces that afi^icted them in their native 
State, the writer's father was asked whether he would 
not accompany some emigrants to the new home in the 



175 

Northwest He answered them by saying, " When you 
can transfer the Neuse and Trent rivers, with their con- 
tents, to Ohio, I will go with you ; not before." 

The fishes to be found in these rivers consist in part of 
shad (which is the king of fish for the breakfast table), 
the trout, perch, mullet, drum, pike, herring, sturgeon 
and many others too numerous to be mentioned in a 
paper of this size. Hard-shell and soft shell crabs, 
and lobsters also abound, while just beyond, in the 
sounds, some of the largest, fattest and most delicately 
fiavored oysters and clams are to be found that the 
waters upon the face of the earth can affbrd. We have 
not attempted in the foregoing to give anything purport- 
ing to be a detailed list of all the products of these 
favored states, for their name is legion, and would 
require a book exceeding the size of the one now under 
contemplation to contain even their names. 

In addition to those mentioned, however, as consti- 
tuting a portion of the staple articles, may be mentioned 
some of the forest nuts and fruits, such as the chincapin, 
which is a small nut of the chestnut family, only smaller, 
sweeter and having the shape of a top. The people of 
these states gather them and boil or roast them, when, 
in many instances, they are strung on threads and worn 
around the necks of children, after the manner of beads; 
but like the man who covered himself with a large fiap- 



176 

jack upon going to bed, the children sometimes dream 
they are hungry, and eat their beads. 

The hickory nut of North Carolina, especially in 
eastern and central portions, to which my attention has 
been principally directed, has a thick, hard shell and 
small kernel, hence it can bear no comparison to the 
nutritious nut of the scaly bark variety to be found in 
the Northwest* The walnut, however, flourishes in 
great abundance, and is of a fine quality. 

Among the fruits found growing in a state of nature 
may be mentioned the red plum, the yellow plum, the 
cranberry and the persimmon. The three former are 
not strangers to the people of the North, but the latter, 
the persimmon, is not well known. When the persim- 
mon is green its astringent qualities must be tested in 
order to be appreciated, since they set at naught alum 
and other such articles in use among us ; but when ripe 
and mellowed by the frost, they are very sweet and 
pleasant to the taste. They are of the size of an ordi- 
nary plum, perhaps a little larger, and contain a kernel 
within them of the same size and shape as the plum. 
The good matron of the South makes from the persim- 
mon a kind of beer, which, when ready for us, laughs to 
scorn cider, small beer and lager, and is not half so 
injurious in its effects. 

We are now entering the suburbs of Magnolia, our 
place of destination ; we see little of interest to the gen- 



177 

eral reader to be described, hence we will drive directly 
to the home of our relatives, and after resting and 
refreshing ourselves, acquaint our readers more minutely 
with the colored people of the South, and other objects 
of interest. 



rs 



CHAPTER Xni. 



The Ck>lored People of the South.— Different aasfles.— The 
Plantation Hands. — ^Their Habits and Modes of Life. — Corn- 
shucking and Log-rolling Bees. — ^Their Loye of "'Possum and 
Sweet-en-tater."— Will they Steal?— The Colored People of the 
Cities and Towns. — General Intelligence among them, and Causes 
Contributing Thereto. — Churches and Schools among them. — 
Efforts of Bad Men to Create Prejudice between Different Classes 
of them.— Education and Wealth will Dispel All. 



Thus far in the course of our narrative we have only 
spoken of the colored element of the South in a general 
way, as it was necessary or convenient to do in order to 
illustrate some of the customs and habits of the whole 
people of that section ; but having at length completed 
our journey^ and the process of hand-shaking and con- 
gratulations in general being ended, an opportunity is 
now afforded of studying the condition and habits of 
these people in a minuter way, since they are to be seen 
in every Southern city in all the various phases pre- 
sented by them — the residents at their homes and places 
of avocation, and the non-residents as they stroll in from 
the neighboring plantations for the purposes of trade or 
recreation. 

Taken as a whole, the colored people of the South 



179 

are a remarkable people, and in some respects, the most 
versatile of habits and disposition of any people with 
which it is the good fortune of the writer to be 
acquainted. They are pervaded with a certain fund of 
good humor and mirthfulness that follows them from the 
cradle to the grave, and like the little girl in an Eastern 
city who was expelled from a scliool because she inces- 
santly laughed, it seems to be a physical impossibility 
for them to repress their laughter, songs, dancing and 
merry-making. Many of them seem to never reach old 
age, if judged by their innocent ways, and we not infre- 
quently find old " Aunties '' and " Uncles " who are just 
as supple and playful as in their youthful days. Nor did 
the bitter oppression incidental to the estate of slavery 
change the fact, for despite it all they managed to snatch 
from their limited hours of rest and refreshment time 
sufficient to sing a song, dance a shuffle or crack a joke, 
to the great merriment and satisfaction of all who beheld 
them. Add to this fact the disposition on their part to 
indulge in exercises of a religious character, interspersed 
with much that was diverting to the mind, and it is not 
difficult to account for the fact that, notwithstanding 
their ill-treatment and debasement by their task-masters, 
they grew from a handful, landed in this country in 
1812, to a vast multitude of nearly four millions of souls 
at the time when the immortal Emancipation Proclama- 
tion was issued by the martyr Abraham Lincoln. 



180 

To travelers along the routes of our great rivers, they 
furnished a continuous fund of amusement and recrea- 
tion, and they were not only willing to give liberally of 
their means for the purpose of eliciting the inimitable 
song, dance or gesture, but some even essayed to mimic 
them, as the basis of many an hour of public divertise- 
ment in places of amusement in distant lands. 

It must not be inferred from the foregoing, however, 
that these people carried their innocent traits to such an 
extent as to deprive them of the sterling qualities of 
man or womanhood — far from it ; on the contrary, their 
achievements in the mechanics, agriculture, literature 
and upon the battle field, as recorded by the historian of 
to-day, set at defiance any such conclusion which msiy 
have been formed and entertained in the mind of any 
one. 

The colored people of the South may be divided into 
two general classes — the plantation hands and the in- 
habitants of commercial centers. We mention the 
plantation hands first because they are the most numer- 
ous body by far, and contitute the physical force of that 
class in the Southern States. These plantation hands 
are, for the greater part, quite dark of complexion (the 
proportion of mixed-blooded colored people being 
infinitel}' smaller than in the cities); they are strong 
and healthy as to their bodies, and industrious to a 
fault. They have been known to work, during the busy 



181 

season, seven days in the week, (though not from 
choice), and the rising sun seldom finds them in bed. 
They have been accustomed from infancy to the plainest 
diet, such as corn bread, fat bacon or pork, cow peas, 
rice and molasses, together with such fruits as could be 
gathered from the fields and woods, upon which they 
have thriven, being strangers to many of the evils that 
afflict the fiesh in our luxurious centers, and sometimes 
living to ages far beyond the allotted span — a centena- 
rian being no curiosity in their midst. Their diet, 
however, is sometimes varied by the addition of a chicken 
or opossum, of which they are passionately fond. This 
passion on their part for chicken and *' 'possum '' arises 
not so much from any constitutional partiality on their 
part, or difference in their tastes and inclinations 
respecting articles of food from the rest of the human 
family, as from the absence of fresh meat of all kinds, 
the very sight of which is at times sufficient to excite a 
whole neighborhood. 

The writer recalls an incident in the little village of 
Hudsonville, during his sojourn there, when, upon the 
arrival of a countryman on the Public Square with a 
small carcass of doubtful looking meat, covered over 
with boughs of trees as a protection against the attacks 
of the large blue flies, which were numerous, the 
mania on the part of the villagers to obtain a piece of 



182 

the coveted flesh was so great that one lady, who was 
unable to get any, actually shed tears of sorrow. 

It is not to be wondered at, then, that these people 
are elated over the possession of something to vary the 
monotony of their harsh and unpalatable diet. " 'Pos- 
sum and sweet-en-tater " reach the acme of the planta- 
tion hand's gustatory ambition. Chicken is good; 
squirrel, racoon and rabbit are good; roast pig is very 
good; but 'Opossum and sweet-en-tater" admit of no 
comparison in the imagination of the poor hungry 
hand. 

" Honey," they will say, *' jes' take dat 'possum an' 
strip off de skin; hang him outdoors 'til de fros' strikes 
him ; den bring him in de house, put him in de pot an' 
parbile him; after dat stuff him, lay him in de oven, put 
little pieces of fat meat over him, an' lay sweet-en-taters 
all roun' him; den let him lie dar 'til he gits rite brown; 
take him out; put him on de table! an' L-o-d, h-o-ne-y! 
DorCt say dem greasy words no more!'*'* 

It's no wonder that, at intervals of recreation, they 
will all join in and sing with great enthusiasm that 
remarkable song, commencing with the suggestive lines, . 

" Dat 'possum meat am good an' sweet, 
Kearve him to de hart." 

Among: the amusements incidental to plantation life 
the corn-shucking and log-rolling bees stand pre-emi- 
nent. On the former occasions the neighbors all turn 



183 

out and assist each other in shucking their corn. In 
this way large quantities of corn are disposed of at a 
single gathering, without the monotony attending the 
private performance of an equal amount of labor. 
Whiskey; which is the product of corn in that section, 
is freely passed around on such occasions, and is not 
unfrequently the cause of illfe<)ling and disturbance. 
After the work is completed a general good time is 
indulged in, concluding, as a rule, with a dance to the 
notes of a squeaky fiddle, in the hands of one of their 
number, and the patting of such others as are unable to 
restrain their flowing spirits. But the log-rolling par- 
ties carry off the palm for real vigor and romantic effect. 
At these meetings were to be found the vigorous youths 
of all the surrounding region, who assembled, like the 
athletes of ancient Greece at the Olympian games, to 
test their physical prowess and win for themselves repu- 
tations of which they were no less proud. These 
contests occurred at a space upon which lay the logs 
chopped from trees, which had been felled in the process 
of clearing land. The participants generally separated 
themselves into two factions, at the head of each was a 
champion, and the feats of strength and endurance were 
as a rule exhibited in their attempts to out-vie each 
other in lifting at the bar placed under one end of a heavy 
log;- when it sometimes happened that the mate of the 
successful party was unable to raise his end or endure 



184 

to bear it to the pile, which covered him with the dis- 
grace of defeat, while the other was correspondingly 
elated and considered a wonderful man. It was very 
amusing to hear the opposite champions challenge each 
other from the tops of their respective piles, using the 
most exaggerated and ridiculous expressions imagi- 
nable. Such expressions as the following were generally 
indulged in on such occasions, being shouted at their 
utmost pitch of voice : 

First champion — " Oh, you can't rule me!" 
Second champion — *' You can't knock a chip off my 
shoulder!" 

First champion — " I'm yer lion tamer!" 
Second champion — " Here's yer alligater eater !" 
First champion — " Woman never had me !" 
Second champion — " Man, he never got me!" 
First champion — "7 come in gold molds! '^ 
And thus they would proceed until, their mission 
being accomplished they, like the corn-shuckers, would 
finish the night with music, feasting and dancing. 

At times, however, the utmost good-will did not pre- 
vail to the close, and fighting and bloodshed would take 
the place of music and feasting, owing to the too free 
use of strong drink. 

Efforts have been made from time to time by those 
who have been more industrious in exposing the weak- 
nesses of the colored race than in exalting their virtues, 



185 

to impress the belief upon the popular mind that the 
average plantation hand will engage in little acts of 
peculation; that is to say, steal. 

The writer has enjoyed unusually favorable facilities 
of acquainting himself with every phase of character 
pertaining to this class of people, and after careful ob- 
servation, extending over a long period of time, he feels 
authorized in repelling the accusation as a base* slander 
upon the fair fame of one of the most patient, indus- 
trious and honorable classes of people that is to be found 
upon the American continent. It is true the colored 
people six)ken of have within their number men who, 
like their white brethren, will commit acts of violence 
against the property of their neighbors, sometimes 
indulging in peculations the very insignificance of which 
are well calculated to call down upon them the scorn and 
ridicule of the community in which they reside, such as 
the taking of pigs, chickens, seed cotton and the like; 
but these acts are no more frequent than may be found 
among some classes of the white people of both sections, 
with this mitigating feature — ^that, when the plantation 
hand of the South relieves a planter of a fat pullet, pig, 
or even a few pounds of seed cotton, he merely indulges 
his disposition to obtain a pittance of what they have 
robbed him and his ancestors of, and generally for the 
purpose of satisfying the cravings of hunger. 

The colored men of the Southern plantations have 



186 

made the South what it is, have produced four-fifths of 
the cotton, sugar, rice and tobacco which for many years 
constituted the chief articles of commerce, and for all 
this they have received no compensation; they have to 
this day an equitable claim on every foot of land, 
every horse, cow, pig or chicken to be found on Southern 
soil, owned by ex- slaveholders, and for them to occa- 
sionally assert their right of redemption is not steal- 
ing. 

The colored people of the cities and towns are a 
heterogeneous mass. They are to be found of all shades 
of color known among the races of men — ^black, yellow, 
cream colored, white, and all the intermediate shades 
Some of them boast that they are of pure African 
extraction — not mongrels; while others rejoice in the 
possession of a very liberal allowance of " pure white 
blood," and use every means in their power to gain 
recognition by their white brethren. There are those, 
indeed, who make it their boast that they have de- 
scended, on their father's side, from some of the first 
white families of the South, and claim recognition on 
the ground of consanguinity, referring to the well- 
known family resemblance as a proof of the cor- 
rectness of their assertion. Nor must it be con- 
cluded, as is supposed by some, that the fact of a 
colored person having his blood mixed is necessar- 
ily a proof of illegitimacy, for, on the contrary, the 



187 

greater portion of the mixed-blooded colored people of 
the South are the fruits of legitimate matrimonial 
alliances formed among the different shades of the race 
during the past and present generations. Much refine- 
ment of manners and real intellectual culture is also 
discernable among the colored people who inhabit the 
cities and towns of the South, since they were in times 
past not only more favored with respect to opportunities 
of gaining information than the poor plantation hands, 
but the relations the}' bore the wealthy whites — as 
domestics and servants in other capacities — were to them 
a source of great profit in increasing their knowledge. 
Besides this, the free colored people, who were in the 
State of North Carolina permitted to acquire property 
and send their children to school, to a limited extent, em- 
ulating the example of the intelligent white people, edu- 
cated their children somewhat,collected libraries and read 
such n ewspapers of the day as they could get possession of, 
thereby becoming, in some instances, the equals and even 
superiors of many of the white citizens. Being great 
imitators and thoroughly Americanized in their ideas 
and ambitions, they vied with the more wealthy portion 
of societ}*^ in clothing themselves in the latest styles 
and furnishing their houses with modern improvements. 
The barbers of the South were also a prolific source of 
information to the rest of colored society; since, by vir- 
tue of their calling, they were brought into the presence 



188 

of the leading statesmen, lawyers and politicians of that 
section, who frequently did not hesitate to discuss 
questions of State and National polity in their pres- 
ence. 

The mechanics, as well as the domestics of the ^outh, 
were also composed of this class of people; in fact, the 
colored people were the intimate attendants and supports 
of the property-holding element in every department of 
life. They were indispensable at the birth^ depended 
upon at the wedding, and in the hour of death the 
prayers and groans of some trusted ^' Aunty'' or 
** Uncle" furnished a safe escort for them to "that 
bourne from which no traveler returns. " 

In some cities, during the slave-holding era, there 
were no distinct churches for the colored people, and 
they were provided for in the galleries of the various 
white congregations, where the pious eye of the master 
could note their movements. 

The writer attended one of these churches during the 
first Sabbath of his sojourn in Hudsonville, to acommo- 
date a friend, but the visit was not repeated. The 
entrance in this instance was made at the rear end of the 
structure, and after being seated in the filthy gallery, we 
were denied even a glance from the preacher's eyes. 

In the large cities, however, the colored people are 
provided with churches and ministers of their own selec- 
tion, where they worship God according to the dictates 



189 

of their own consciences; this is especially true of them 
since the war. 

I regret to say that on various and sundry occasions 
in the past, short-sighted men of the demagogue stamp, 
for the satisfaction of their own personal ambition, 
have endeavored to create a feeling of prejudice on the 
part of the dark against the light-colored people 
in some parts of the South, by representing to them that 
their interests were of a conflicting nature, and endeav- 
oring to lead innocent persons of a darker hue to 
believe that their light-colored brethren were aspiring 
to monopolize all the chief places of honor and emolu- 
ment. Be it said to the honor of the masses of the dark- 
colored people of the South, that their good judgment 
has restrained them from falling in with these wicked 
men in their dangerous designs, and led them to ignore 
all such propositions made to them. 

Before the abolition of slavery in the South there was 
an element of society to be found there which has since 
lost its identity by being absorbed or merged into 
the one general class recognized as the colored people of 
the South. I refer to the body known before the war as 
"free negroes," or in their vernacular, "free niggers." 
This was the most hopelessly forlorn class, in some 
respects, of any we have mentioned, if a people hated 
and despised, slighted and scorned, neglected and 
abased, may be referred to as being forlorn, 



190 

for the foregoing adjectives but faintly describe their 
unenviable condition in that inhospitable Southern 
land. These people were of all colors, sexes and condi- 
tions, and their origin was various. It was a maxim of 
the common law, which was strictly adhered to in nearly 
all the slaveholding states, that the condition of the off- 
spring followed that of the mother; hence, in all cases 
where the condition of the mother was that of a free 
woman the offspring was born free; it mattered not how 
her freedom was obtained, provided it was in accordance 
with the provisions of the law. If a woman of " pure 
white blood " cohabited with a person having a " visible 
admixture of African blood," the offspring resulting from 
that union was born and remained free, because the 
mother, being a white person, was, ipso facto^ free in 
the South, and the condition of her child followed that 
of herself; and, strange as it may seem, such unions were 
not unknown, even in the palmiest days of the ^' peculiar 
institution," nor, indeed, were they suflSciently rare of 
occurrence to attract especial interest or occasion 
unusual remark. 

The writer is conversant with a case where a planta- 
tion hand, of the darkest hue and most uncouth 
appearance begat offspring by each of the two daughters 
of his master; and these two mulatto children, being 
children of one father and of sisters, were thereby half 
sisters and cousins (a very strange relationship), were 



191 
reared under the same roof as the rest of the family — 

« 

living to be almost centenarians, and to look back upon 
a numerous progeny of free colored people. 

In other instances, good and faithful maidservants, 
who had given the better portion of their life in the 
service of their owners, rendering services of peculiar 
merit — such, for instance, as rearing a family of children 
from infancy to years of discretion, and nursing the 
sick — were manumitted, together with their children, 
who, with their progeny, thereafter were free. And 
some who were so fortunate as to be married to free 
men, who were of industrious, frugal and ambitious 
dispositions, were purchased by their husbands, which 
made them and their children, born thereafter, free. 

In the foregoing, and other ways, which we will not 
now weary the patience of the reader by relating, a very 
numerous population of free colored people came into 
existence, and remained up to the era of general emanci- 
pation in the South. Having a visible admixture of 
African blood in their veins, they were of course rele- 
gated to the same social status as the slaves, except 
that of bondage. They were ignored by the whites as 
associates, however intelligent or refined they might be; 
and although in a few instances (very rare) slight modifi- 
cations of this rigid rule took place, still the writer has 
yet to be informed of a case where it was wholly abolished. 

They inhabited commercial centers chiefly for the 



192 

reaBon that being, as a rule, not the owners of land for 
agricultural purposes, they resorted to mechanical pur- 
suits for a livelihood; in which they became expert as 
time progressed, and furnished the architectural skill of 
that whole section in the constructing of buildings and 
bridges of various kinds, and even some of the fleetest 
ships that ploughed the waters. Another reason that 
may be assigned for their tendency towards cities and 
towns is the fact that they were the objects of suspicion 
and distrust in the rural districts on the part of the 
slaveholders, who feared that their proximity to and 
association with their slaves would contaminate them 
(the slaves), by creating in their minds a feeling of 
jealousy and restlessness under their oppressed condi- 
tion. 

Being deprived of the right of sitting on juries and 
giving their sworn testimony in all litigation where their 
interests conflicted with those of white men, they were 
at the mercy of the most unprincipled rogues and liber- 
tines; and unless they secured the friendly aid of some 
white guardian or patron, they were liable not only to be 
robbed of their hard-earned possessions and deprived of 
life and liberty by means of the perjured statements of 
covetous persons of the other race, but in many 
instances the most outrageous and infamous crimes, 
which shock every fibre in the body of a real man, were 
perpetrated upon helpless females, when no redress 



id3 

could be had, the only witnesses to them being persons 
of color. 

In some sections of the South these poor people were 
compelled to purchase badges at fabulous rates and 
wear them, in order to distinguish themselves from their 
slave brethren ; and although they, in this way and by 
paying a direct poll-tax, as well as the usual tax on 
their meagre possessions, were constantly enriching the 
public treasury, yet they were not permitted to vote for 
their representatives, being in this respect in a worse 
condition than the Indians, who pay no taxes. 

In times of public alarm these free colored people 
were objects upon which the lower class of the white 
element of the South vented their spite, since they were 
entirely defenseless, being forbidden by law to carry fire- 
arms, or even to keep them within their dwellings, and, 
as we have remarked, had little or no redress at law. 
This was especially true of them at a time when a real 
or imaginary revolt of the slaves was threatened. The 
writer will never forget a reign of terror that was inau- 
gurated and maintained during the Fremont-Buchanan 
campaign of 1856. The impression had in some mys- 
terious manner become prevalent amongst the slaves 
that if Fremont was elected President of the United 
States their freedom would be assured. Where this idea 
came from or how it gained currency amongst them, 
nobody knew; but it existed, nevertheless, and created 



194 

in the minds of the more cautious of the slave-holders 
an apprehension that in the event of a failure on the 
part of the slaves to realize their expectations, acts of 
violence might be indulged in by them. Laboring under 
this mental delusion, and being filled with such a degree 
of cowardice as their guilty actions naturally begat in 
them, they organized bodies of midnight marauders, 
known as patrols, who, during the night season, scoured 
the suburbs of the ancient town in which we lived, 
striking terror to the hearts of the defenseless free col- 
ored people, who had not even masters to protect them, 
and in many instances committing depredations that 
even a savage would blush to acknowledge. 

We almost shudder to recall an eventful night when 
an ominous knock was heard upon the door of our 
humble cot. We were all alone. Mother was a poor 
widow, her fatherless children were all quite young, 
the eldest not yet having reached puberty. We made 
no response. Again that harsh knock rang upon the 
midnight air, causing our hearts to beat almost audibly 
within our breasts. Not yet did we deign a response. 
Then there fell upon our ears a harsh, cruel voice: 
" Open this door, G— d d — n you ! or we'll bust it in !" 

"John," said our dear mother, " get up and see what 
they want. I guess they are the patrols." Then, ad- 
dressing herself to the marauders, she said: "All right; 



195 

wait a minute until we make a light, and we^ll let you 
in." 

A match was struck; an old-fashioned tallow dip 
was lit, and then the writer, clothed in his robe de nuity 
with fear and trembling, drew the bar. A half dozen 
uncouth, desperate-looking characters invaded the prem- 
ises, accompanied by one or two men who laid claim to 
some degree of respectability, and who, upon discovering 
that they were only disgracing themselves by trespass- 
ing upon the premises of a lonely widow and her little 
brood, were lavish of their apologies and vacated with- 
out delay. The remainder, after passing through the 
house and glancing curiously at every object that 
confronted them, failed to find anything that could be 
construed into a firearm, and left, to return no more. 

Our neighbors, however, were less fortunate, for it 
happened that an old fowling-piece, a relic of the past, 
was discovered upon their premises, which was the 
direct cause of procuring for its unfortunate owner 
thirty-nine lashes upon his naked back, from a cow-hide 
in the hands of one of that infernal clan. Nor was that 
all, for, not being satisfied with flogging the husband, 
they essayed to insult the wife, and when she resisted 
and attempted to resent the insult, they assaulted her in 
a most outrageous manner. 

For a colored man to assault a white man in those 
days was to commit an unpardonable offense, which 



196 

* 

blood alone could atone for — it mattered not how great 
soever the provocation might be, or how just the colored 
man's cause. We distinctly remember an incident that 
took place in the State of North Carolina in the latter 
part of the 3'ear 1856, when the writer was a boy, that 
made a lasting impression upon his mind and caused 
him to remark to his kind mother that if she did not 
sell her home and leave the South, he would leave just 
as soon as his age and means would admit of it. The 
incident was as follows : 

A large, muscular man, having a very slight admix- 
ture of African blood in his veins, drove into the town 

of with a load of small casks or kegs which he 

had made to barter away for a few groceries. He went 
to one of the leading merchants of the place and oftered 
his kegs for sale, and a trade was readily effected; but 
during during the course of the conversation that 
ensued, the capacity of the kegs being called in question, 
a dispute arose between the merchant and the country- 
man, when the former stigmatized the latter as a liar; 
the rustic retorted by hurling the same epithet at the 
grocer, when the latter struck the customer a violent 
blow in the face with his fist, who had no sooner received 
it than he returned it with interest, felling the merchant 
to the floor. Immediately the cry went around: "A 
nigger has struck a white man ; kill him ! kill the d — n 
nigger!" and a crowd such as were in those days always 



197 

to be found loitering around stores and wharves in that 
section, without further inquiry fell upon the countryman 
and attempted to knock him down. He was equal to the 
emergency, however, and had he enjoyed even the sem- 
blance of fair play, would have succeeded in whipping 
all his assailants; but finally, when it became apparent 
that he was getting the better of the cowardly crew, a 
sailor in their midst drew a bar of iron, and striking 
him a blow on the head with it, felled him to the ground. 
Once in that position his clothing was torn from his 
body, his arms and legs pinioned, and his bare back 
flogged with a "cowhide" until the blood ran from it, 
and the gashes made in his flesh by the cruel strokes 
presented a ghastly spectacle as they gaped open. For 
this colored man there was no redress; indeed, he was 
only too glad to escape with his life, and drag back 
again his mangled, bleeding body to the heart-broken 
wife and grief-stricken children from whom he had 
parted a few hours previous with hopes beating high. 

The writer labors under the embarrassment derived 
from the fear that there may be those who will read 
these recitals of oppression and injury inflicted upon the 
colored people of the South with incredulity, and imagine 
them to be the productions of a dishonest imagination. 
If such should be the case, the reader has only to refer 
the matter to any one of the thousands of well-informed 



198 

colored citizens who are to be found in all oar cities 
and towns of the North for a verification, not only by 
their verbal testimony, but by their scarred and crippled 
bodies that are yet to be seen. The half has not been 
told. 

What the colored people of the South need at the 
present time to raise them up to an equal plain with the 
better class of the white people there is a fair opportu- 
nity in the race of life to earn and accumulate money, 
and good educational facilities for their children. 

Thanks to the large-heartedness of the people of the 
North, there are in some sections of that benighted 
land a few educational institutions that will compare 
favorably with some of the best in the land; where* 
young men and women of color are fast preparing them- 
selves to enter the higher walks of life. Of such are 
Fisk University and Hampton Institute, to say nothing 
of many others less pretentious. 

The law of the land can do so much for us as to 
remove all obstructions from our way that are obnox- 
ious to its provisions ; but no more. It can not take 
us from under the ban of prejudice any more than it 
can the pauper of another race. 

Our destiny lies to a very great extent in our 
own hands, and^the quicker we recognize that fact the 
more rapid will be our progress upward. If the 



199 

recognition and preferment of races of other people is 
governed by their wealth, intelligence and integrity, by 
these same means, and these alone, must we seek 
and expect to win success in life; and not by a state 
of inertia, or a period spent in bewailing our unfortu- 
nate lot. ''A word to the wise is sufficient." 



CONCLUSION. 



Past and Present of '' Magnolia.'' — Sherman's Boys and Har- 
dee. — " No Law to Compel One Man to * Mister ' Another." — The 
Results of the Trip. — Betarning North. 



We must now hasten to a conclusion of our narrative, 
since we have already occupied more time and space 
in relating it than we anticipated at the beginning. 
Suffice it to say, then, that the town of Magnolia, while 
possessing a greater population than Hudsonville and 
wearing somewhat of a metropolitan appearance, did not 
fully meet our expectations. Even to Jones and Brown, 
our companions of the route, who had resided there in 
former times during its prosperity, scarcely recognized 
in its charred and dilapidated appearance the Magnolia 
of the past, when business was flourishing and there was 
abundance of labor with fair remuneration for all, except 
those who were enslaved. Instead of scores of drays 
and carts being employed in hauling the large deposits 
of merchandise to and fro from the steamboat landing; 
now half a dozen vehicles could scarcely find employ- 
ment; where formerly a numerous body of mechanics 
were wont to reside in the midst of a plentiful supply of 
all the necessaries of life, we at length found only a 



201 

tithe of them, striving to eke out an existence by the 
performance of such odd jobs as could be found in a 
place where the erection of substantial buildings gave 
place to a few repairs to such as were already in 
existence to keep them in suitable condition for use, 
and the banks that once flourished there for the accom- 
modation of a healthy trade, were to be found no more, 
but in their stead one petty institution. In fact, decay 
and blight seemed to have seized upon all things. The 
people who inhabited the place appeared to be discour- 
aged and lost to all ambition, even to repair the sad 
ravages that the events of the war had entailed. 

Formerly this place was the seat of learning, refine- 
ment and wealth for all that section of the great State 
of North Carolina, and the unsophisticated rustic of the 
interior who had the ambition to make it a visit, opened 
his eyes in astonishment as he gazed at the exterior of 
the capacious buildings to be found there, and the riches 
as displayed in the show-windows and on the streets ; in 
short, it was the commercial center from which all the 
country around, within a radius of a hundred miles, 
drew its supplies, and it was no uncommon thing before 
the war to see her streets in the vicinity of the Court 
and Market House, crowded with the vehicles of 
planters and small farmers, who had traveled many 
miles to visit this emporium for the purpose of purchas- 
ing or exchanging wares. 



202 

But now all this was reversed, and, instead, gloom and 
despondency seemed to brood over the forsaken place. 
The inhabitants remaining were not slow in attributing 
all their losses and misfortunes to the *' Yankees," and 
pointed to the charred remains of their former bank 
buildings and store-houses, which were destroyed dur- 
ing Sherman's grand march to the sea, as a proof of 
the correctness of their statements, but they seemed to 
lose sight of the fact that their own obstinacy in en- 
deavoring to impede his progress, even up to the last 
moment, occasioned the greater portion of the damage 
that had accrued. 

It is related that one of the typical Southern ladies of 
that time, full of reliance on the superior fighting quali- 
ties of the Southern chivalry, when told that Sherman 
was approaching the town, said : '* O, never mind, 
General Har-dee is here, and he won't let them enter." 
Alas for her confidence and reliance upon the superior 
skill and chivalric bearing of '* Har-dee and his troops !" 
Instead of emulating the example of the gallant, three 
hundred under Leonidas at Thermopylae, and dying in 
the '^ last ditch," they at the last moment ingloriously 
fied, being in some instances wounded in the back, and 
not a few of them captured. 

Among the wealthy class of the white people to be 
found at this place were some who for their general in- 
telligence and magnaminity of character are deserving of 



203 

great praise. This is especially true of a few of the 
weaker portion of the community, who were veritable 
ministering angels at the bedside of many a poor unfor- 
tunate sufferer in their midst, for which future genera- 
tions will render them their full mead of praise; but as 
a rule they were very exclusive in their habits, and dis- 
dained to mingle on terms of intercourse with those 
whom they considered their inferiors — ^their standards 
of distinction being color, money and intelligence. 
Some of the male portion carried their silly prejudice 
to such an extent that they would even refuse to 
address a colored man as Mister, calling him Tom, 
Dick, Harry or boy, as the case might demand, 
regardless of the merits or demerits of the person 
addressed, or his station in life. The following anec- 
dote will go far to show the extent to which the 
business men of the place permitted this silly bias 
to carry them. A very respectable colored man, of 
average intelligence, was elected to the honorable posi- 
tion of alderman of the town, and he very reasonably 
concluded that he was entitled to the ordinarj^ and usual 
courtesies that ought to be observed on the part of one 
citizen to another; therefore, when he was addressed by 
a merchant of the town as Thomas, it is not to be won- 
dered at that he reminded him that he had a ^'handle" 
to his name, and that handle was the word Mister. The 
result of this action on the part of the " city father ^ 



204 

was an invitation extended to him by the merchant to 
leave his store, which invitation not being immediately 
complied with, the porter was ordered to summarily 
eject the alderman, which he did in a manner more 
forcible than polite. An action in the nature of as- 
sault and battery against the aggressors was the next 
scene in this strange drama, in which the defendants 
were acquitted, and the complainant was not only lec- 
tured by the partial justice for not leaving the premises 
of the merchant when ordered by him to do so (albeit 
he had gone there on business, which had not been 
transacted), but was also reminded that there was no 
law in the State of North Carolina, known to the court, 
by virtue of which one man could be compelled "to 
mister another." 

We found an extensive, well-regulated society of col- 
ored people here, together with churches and schools 
managed by them, that were a credit alike to them and 
the State in which they resided, but the increased cost 
of living in a manner suitable to our requirements, to- 
gether with the almost total absence of remunerative 
employment, prevented us from selecting Magnolia as a 
home. Besides this, we had breathed the pure atmos- 
phere of the free North for so long a time that the 
prejudices and customs peculiar to that locality could 
illy be brooked by us; we therefore concluded to return to 
Hudsonville by the nearest route, pack our carpet-bags, 



205 

and turn our steps Northward, where the invigorating 
breezes of our mountains and lakes impart new life, and 
inspire one with hopes and ambitions such as go far 
towards establishing true manhood; and where the laws 
and customs in vogue do not necessarily militate 
against one on account of his race and color, but every 
man is known and honored for what he is, judged by 
the standard of morality and qualification. 




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